Jury: Baptist Convention liable for ex-pastor who molested boy

Last Updated: Friday, May 18, 2012

A Lake County jury has found the Florida Baptist Convention liable for a former pastor who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy in Eustis.

Jurors concluded Thursday that the convention did not do enough to investigate the background of Douglas Myers, who helped start two churches in Lake County, after receiving funds and training from the convention.

Myers, 63, admitted to molesting the boy repeatedly over a six-month period ending in 2005. He is currently serving a seven-year sentence prison sentence in Polk County.

The convention argued it is more of a support organization for Baptist churches, and it did not have any control over Myers.

But in a lawsuit, both the victim and his mother claimed the convention failed to uncover past allegations of sexual abuse at other churches where Myers served before giving him grant funds and training to start new churches in Florida.

Myers started the Triangle Community Church, in Eustis, and the Harbor Baptist Fellowship, in Howey-in-the-Hills. Both churches have since closed.

His previous allegations of sexual abuse were said to be at churches in Alabama and Maryland.