A former Southern Baptist pastor and father of seven children who once backed strict anti-abortion legislation in Texas has been charged with continuously molesting a juvenile female relative over the course of two years, sometimes several times a day. Court records show she was 13 years old when he started sexually assaulting her.
Stephen Bratton, 43, confessed to his wife about the alleged abuse on May 15th after which she contacted his co-pastors of Grace Family Baptist Church in Cypress Station, at 4 a.m. to organize an emergency meeting. During the meeting later in the day, Bratton admitted he had “sinned in grievous ways.”
Church officials released the public statement on June 16, 2019 below:
“We are aware of the situation regarding Stephen Bratton and the charges that have been filed against him and of his arrest on June 14th.
Stephen Bratton confessed to Erin Frye and Aaron Wright, both pastors at the church, of sexually abusing a minor in an ongoing way for a number of years on May 16th. This is the first time this had been brought to the attention of the pastors.
This activity is wrong according to Biblical and civil law and the church condemns the behavior as abhorrent.
The elders immediately filed a police report with Harris County Sheriff’s Office the same day, May 16th. As the weeks followed the pastors continued to make contact with the detective because they desired the case to be brought forward so that justice would be served. Once the case began we continued to cooperate fully throughout the investigation.
The elders have called upon Stephen Bratton to accept the full responsibility for his actions and to place himself at the mercy of the criminal justice system.
Stephen is no longer in a position of leadership at the church and is no longer receiving a salary.
Stephen Bratton was also excommunicated by the church the following Sunday, May 19th. Therefore he is no longer a member of the church.
Currently we are working to meet the needs of the family and the victim.
We have deep grief for the victim and have sought to respect the privacy and identity of the victim throughout this process.”
In light of these allegations, co-pastor Aaron Wright told the Chronicle is now questioning Bratton’s past as a clergyman.
“This person’s life is in such a contradiction to the faith that we see no evidence that they are a Christian,” he told the Houston Chronicle.
Bratton recently voiced his support for a failed Texas bill that would have abolished abortions throughout the state if passed and allow prosecutors to file criminal homicide charges against any woman who underwent the procedure.
“Whoever authorizes or commits murder is guilty,” Bratton said in public testimony at a hearing in April. “They’re guilty already in a court that is far more weighty than what is here in Texas.”
Sheriff officials confirmed Bratton was charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child and was released from custody after posting a $50,000 bond. He was seen carrying a Bible outside a Harris County courtroom early Monday, KRIV reports.