The lead pastor at Eastside Baptist Church said he and other church leaders are re-examining its hiring practices after a man who volunteered as a youth minister for most of 2015 was arrested and charged with child molestation last month.
John Hull, who took over as lead pastor Jan.1, said he is familiar with the case of Alexander Edwards, who was arrested in his home in Lee County near Albany on April 14. However, Hull said he did not know Edwards, who police say volunteered with the church from January to November 2015.
Hull said he has asked the church’s personnel committee and other leaders to find out how Edwards was allowed to work at the church.
“We need to find out what happened, we need to find out how Alexander was brought into the organization. We need to then ensure and make sure that parents of our church and school and community understand that Eastside is doing everything it can to make sure it never happens again,” Hull said.
Hull said the church has also reached out to the family of the child Edwards is alleged to have molested.
“We are trying to help in very tangible ways, to encourage them, support them,” Hull said. “They’re remarkable people. They’re remarkably strong and very determined to protect their child.”
After reading a statement addressing the situation to his congregation last Sunday, Hull said he has invited members of the community to come to the church, located on Lower Roswell Road, at 6:30 p.m. tonight “to come and allow us to walk and process through this and, as well, answer questions that they may have. And tell them measures that we’re putting into place to ensure this kind of thing never happens.”
According to a warrant for his arrest filed April 13, Edwards went into an 11-year-old boy’s Marietta bedroom several times over a one- to two-month period earlier this year while the child’s parents were asleep, where the alleged molestation occurred.