April 14, 2005

Pastor in indecency case defended by some

The Dallas Morning News

01:08 AM CDT on Thursday, April 14, 2005

By GRETEL C. KOVACH / The Dallas Morning News

When a Dallas pastor was arrested last month on suspicion of molesting a boy in his congregation, some insisted the charge was a lie. Others who knew the minister praised God that he had "finally been stopped."

Larry Joe Crocker The Rev. Larry Joe Crocker, the 56-year-old pastor of Lakeview Christian Church in Dallas, was arrested March 16 at his Garland home and charged with two counts of indecency with a child by contact. He denies the charges.

Almost 20 years ago, Mr. Crocker, a Disciples of Christ pastor, was asked to resign from another Texas church after a boy said the pastor had persuaded him to swim naked together in the church baptistery, said an elder and a deacon in the church, who are the boy's mother and father.

The Rockdale boy, who is now 30 and a professional at a prominent Texas company, also said Mr. Crocker took him on an overnight fishing trip and let him drive a pickup through a pasture while the minister rode beside him in the nude.

Mr. Crocker said he had been "cleared of any wrongdoing." He and his attorney declined to provide details of who might have investigated the case; the accuser and his family say it was never referred to police.

As the police investigation into the recent charges continues, those who believe Mr. Crocker has been wrongly accused say his ordeal reveals the danger of false reports in an era of deep mistrust of religious figures.

Posted by kshaw at April 14, 2005 06:09 AM