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Anti-LGBTQ Hate Group Leader Jared Woodfill Named in Child Molestation Lawsuit

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Jared Woodfill, the leader of a Houston-based anti-LGBTQ hate group, is named as a defendant in a sexual assault lawsuit against former Republican Texas state Rep. Paul Pressler.

The lawsuit alleges that Pressler, who is Woodfill’s law partner, sexually assaulted a man over the course of 35 years, beginning when the victim was 14.

In addition to Woodfill and Pressler, the suit names as defendants Pressler’s wife, Nancy, First Baptist Church of Houston, and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and its president, the Rev. Paige Patterson.

Woodfill serves as president of the Conservative Republicans of Texas, which was founded by Steve Hotze and is considered an anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Pressler is a former justice on the 14th Court of Appeals who served in the Texas Legislature in the late 1950s.

The Texas Monitor reports:

Woodfill told the outlet the suit was an attempt to “extort money from the Southern Baptist Convention” and vowed to “fight it tooth and nail.”

The suit alleges that [the victim] and Pressler met when the former attended First Baptist Church, where Pressler held volunteer leadership roles. The suit alleges that Pressler enrolled [the victim] in Bible study and began molesting and raping him in his master bedroom study.

The suit also alleges that Pressler told [the victim] he could stop at any time, but that Rollins thought God had sanctioned the rapes. The suit says the molestation occurred two to three times per month while Rollins attended college.

Woodfill, a former chairman of the Harris County GOP, led efforts to repeal the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, which prohibited discrimination against LGBTQ people, in 2015. He and other opponents of the ordinance alleged that transgender nondiscrimination protections would lead to men preying on women in public bathrooms, which is provably false.

Woodfill is also representing two Houston taxpayers who are challenging same-sex benefits for Houston city employees.

The sexual assault suit, filed in Harris County state district court in October, seeks $1 million in damages.

 

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John Wright

John Wright is the editor of OutSmart magazine. He has spent two decades in the mainstream and LGBTQ media. Most recently, he served as senior editor of Dallas Voice, and covered LGBTQ issues in the state Legislature for The Texas Observer. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Wright earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Florida. He resides in the EaDo area of Houston, where he is currently remodeling a 1930s row house.
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