WALLS, Miss. — A Mississippi church has responded to allegations that a male teacher at a school it operates raped a gay student in the 1990s in order to make him “hate men.”
Josh Carlisle, youth director of Bethel Baptist Church, which operates the Bethel Baptist School in DeSoto County, issued a statement to the Memphis television station WMC after the Washington Blade first reported Jeff White’s allegations on Aug. 27.
“We are aware currently that there is a police investigation of misconduct that allegedly occurred back in the late 1990s,” said Carlisle. “We are currently now and intend to fully cooperate with police during the investigation into this matter.”
White told the Blade during an exclusive interview in July near his home on the Mississippi Gulf Coast that the teacher raped him each week for three years as a way to force him to change his sexual orientation.
Both White and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which is representing him, have identified the teacher as Steven Barnes.
Barnes is an associate pastor at Bethel Baptist Church.
White and Samantha Ames, a staff attorney with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, met with DeSoto County officials on Aug. 26 to discuss the allegations.