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Volunteer Youth Pastor, Middle School Principal Arrested in Oklahoma on Sex Charges

An Oklahoma Baptist church volunteer and middle school principal has been arrested and charged with fondling a male student in his school office.

Cody Barlow, 33, was booked into the Seminole County Jail Oct. 27 and released on a $100,000 bond.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said it is investigating allegations made by multiple victims.

The Wewoka School District placed Barlow on administrative leave from Wewoka Middle School, where he had been principal since 2020, on October 12. Wewoka is about an hour east of Oklahoma City.

Wewoka First Baptist Church Pastor Nathan Brumley told Baptist Press that Barlow also had been removed from his church responsibilities.

“We are grieved by these serious charges against Mr. Barlow,” Brumley said. “We treat these allegations with the utmost seriousness, and we are praying for everyone impacted by this tragic situation.”

A male child told authorities Barlow had inappropriate contact with him on multiple occasions during the school year and that the behavior had escalated in September, when he was sexually assaulted, News 9 reported.

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The Southern Baptist Convention has been under fire for its handling of abuse in the past and at its annual meeting in June approved a series of reforms, including setting up a website to track abusive pastors.

In August, the Convention announced that federal officials had begun an investigation into sexual abuse in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.

Todd Fisher, executive director-treasurer of Oklahoma Baptists, said he was “grieved” to learn of the charges against Barlow.

“These are crucial times for Southern Baptists. We must have the highest standards of safety in our ministry contexts,” Fisher said. “Oklahoma Baptists will continue to lead the way in preventing abuse and care for abuse survivors. We are praying for all those impacted.”

Anne Stych

Anne Stych is a writer in Charlotte, North Carolina.