The Associated Press reports:
A Southern Baptist pastor who supported legislation in Texas that would have criminalized abortions has been arrested on charges of child sex abuse, accused of repeatedly molesting a teenage relative over the course of two years.
Stephen Bratton is accused of subjecting the relative to inappropriate touching that escalated to “sexual intercourse multiple times a day or several times a week” from 2013 to 2015, according to Thomas Gilliland, a spokesman with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
Bratton, who is a father of seven, was outspoken in support of a Texas bill that would have abolished abortions and charged women with homicide if they underwent the procedure. That level of offense can be punishable by the death penalty under Texas law. Bratton publicly testified in support of the bill in April. The measure never got a vote.
On May 15, Bratton confessed his crimes to his wife who then called the other pastors at the Grace Family Baptist Church for an emergency meeting.
Bratton then confessed to his colleagues as well and was quoted saying he had “sinned in grievous ways.” His fellow pastors and wife immediately reported his confession to the police and Bratton was ready to turn himself in the same day.
Following his confession, his church moved swiftly to excommunicate him from the congregation and scrub any trace of his name from their website.