Photo Credits: Metro Voice News
A former 85-year-old Hays Hills Baptist Church deacon, Charles Sweet, was charged with two counts of indecency with a child on Wednesday; investigators say there are more victims. He has admitted to sexually abusing two young girls who are now adults.
According to the affidavits, Sweet admitted to the crimes against multiple young girls in Hays and Travis counties. At another point in his interview with detectives he said he “is attracted to girls younger than 12 years old.”
The church released a statement saying Sweet was stripped of his membership and barred from even attending, after a 14-year-old girl made an outcry to Pastor David Sweet, who is Charles Sweet’s son. That was September of 2012, but no charges were filed then. This is one of two cases in Travis County filed Wednesday. In January of this year, another woman made an outcry that Sweet had molested her as a young girl in a trailer where they held their youth ministries.
The alleged incidents occurred from the early 1990’s and into the 2000’s. Det. Guevara said Sweet’s “target age” was prepubescent children ranging from 6 to 12-years old. All victims in the case are female.
"The investigation both here and in Hays County revealed that there's multiple other now adult female survivors," Det. Guevara said. "He also victimized some here in Austin at his residence and then also in Hays County."
The CBS Austin reports: Carol Midboe is a volunteer with the Survivors Network for those abused by faith leaders. She's also a survivor of sex assault herself. She said when she was 9-years-old living in Minnesota, she was abused once while at a camp.
"Predators seek out faith communities, predators seek out opportunities to where they're around children more often and more likely to have those one on one opportunities with children," said Midboe.
"(Predators) go into faith communities, which is highly trusting of individuals, the children and adults are less likely to have conversations about safe and unsafe touch or even have conversations about sexual abuse because it's been a taboo topic for so many generations," she said.
Midboe encourages parents to talk to their kids about where it’s inappropriate for a child to be touched. And if your child goes to camp, ask questions about the camp’s child protection policies. “Are they doing background checks on their volunteer staff, are they doing federal level or state level. Are they collecting fingerprints,” she said.
Sweet has not yet been arrested, according to a KXAN-TV report. Sweet was a deacon at Hays Hills Baptist Church in the Buda area until he was removed and banned from the church following a 2012 sexual abuse investigation conducted by Austin Police, according to KXAN. On Sept. 9, 2012, church leaders informed their congregation that due to a “grievous sin,” they removed Sweet from membership from the church and banned him from the facility. No arrest was made at that time.