Southern Baptist Pastor and Former State Leader Pleads Not Guilty to Child Sexual Assault
Robert Stine, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention, has been charged with two counts of first degree child sexual assault for multiple assaults on a girl under the age of 13. Until recently, Stine, 61, was the pastor of Midvale Baptist Church in Madison, Wisconsin.
Stein pleaded not guilty to the charges last week, according to local news outlet WISC-TV, which previously investigated the claims against Stine.
WISC reported the assaults began in 2018 and 2019 when the girl was 9 years old and occurred at the Kid’s Best day camp, which was led by Stine and hosted by the church. The girl realized she had been sexually assaulted after learning about inappropriate behavior in a sex education class at her school. She told school social workers who contacted her mother and child protective services. Her mother reported the claims to the Madison Police Department.
Stine allegedly groomed the girl, calling her “special” and having her sit on his lap in a dark room while playing games at the camp.
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WISC says Stine continued to preach at Midvale as police started to investigate him in 2021 for an alleged assault on another minor.
WISC reports that Stine continued preaching and leading church business meetings through the summer even after the Madison Police Department concluded its investigation and forwarded child sex assault charges to the Dane County District Attorney’s office in June. At that time, Stine lost his childcare license to operate Kid’s Best.
Stine has since resigned. His attorney told WISC that Stine did not resign from the church earlier because he wanted to “spare the church and its members any unnecessary distraction or concern.”
The church’s website does not address Stine’s arrest but says, “Midvale is currently without a pastor. However, you will hear a sermon from a man dedicated to teaching the word of God.”
As Ministry Watch has repeatedly reported, the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, is wrestling with a decades-old sexual abuse crisis. Various SBC entities are being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department. And in 2019 the Houston Chronicle reported hundreds of abuse cases in Southern Baptist churches spanning decades.
Main photo: Robert Stine / Video screengrab