Sexual abuse by clergy met with silence

Quad Cities OnLine

February 28, 2019

By Scott Reeder

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. — Edmund Burke

Michael Leathers is a good man who did something.

And it cost him his job.

Back in 2002, he was the editor of Illinois Baptist, a newspaper covering Southern Baptist congregations across the Land of Lincoln.

When he learned that a pastor, Leslie Mason, was criminally charged with sexually abusing girls in Olney, Ill., he reported it. One of the girls apparently was only 13 years old.

Instead of receiving praise for informing Baptists about a potential predator in their midst, he found himself in a room with a lawyer and his boss Glenn Akins, who then ran the Illinois Baptist State Association.

They wanted him gone.

According to Leathers, Akins offered a peculiar complaint about the story: writing about one pastor who committed sex crimes was unfair because that “ignores many others who have done the same thing.”

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.