Mississippi Coast pastors named in Southern Baptist sex abuse database. Here’s the list.

Sun Herald [Biloxi MS]

May 27, 2022

By Jesse Lieberman

Southern Baptist leaders on Thursday released a list of alleged sex offenders connected to the church that had previously been kept secret.

The list was made public following a third-party investigation indicating leaders of the church ignored people who came forward with stories of abuse.

Within the 203-page list of alleged sex offenders were two pastors from the Mississippi Coast convicted of sex crimes, along with one from Slidell and one from New Orleans.

In 2016, Carlos Smith was a pastor for Unity Baptist Church in Wiggins and was convicted of sexual battery of a girl at the church he led.

The girl, a relative of the Saucier man, was 11 when the abuse began in 2011 and continued for three years.

David Mathew Thorne, a youth pastor from Goodyear Baptist Church in Picayune, pleaded guilty to one count of sexual battery and one count of touching a child for lustful purposes in 2017.

Thomas was arrested in March of 2016 for molesting a 15-year-old girl in a church van while he was the youth pastor.

He was sentenced to 25 years in prison, according to the database.

In Slidell, James Robert Griffin was arrested on charges of aggravated sex crimes involving juveniles and 100 counts of possession of child pornography.

Griffin was a volunteer associate pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church and a volunteer at Grace Memorial Baptist Church, both in Slidell.

He was convicted in 2009, according to the database.

Jonathan Bailey, a youth minister at First Baptist Church in New Orleans, was convicted of 12 felonies including molestation of a juvenile, indecent behavior with a juvenile and obstruction.

He is serving a 10-year sentence in Louisiana state prison, according to the database.