MESQUITE (CBSDFW.COM) – The lead pastor of Open Door Baptist Church in Mesquite was arrested Tuesday on a charge of Persons Required to Report; Time to Report for allegedly failing to report abusive sexual relationships between church workers and underage parishioners.
Police allege in a statement that Robert Arnold Ross, 70, knew of an ongoing relationship between a 15-16 year-old-girl and a 33-year-old assistant youth pastor at the church named Steve Winn of Crandall.
On February 18, 2018, the Mesquite Police Department received a report of a possible sexual assault of a teenage girl. The investigation confirmed that Winn had an ongoing sexual relationship with the teen during the course of the last 14 months.
Winn was an Assistant Youth Pastor at the Open Door Baptist Church in Mesquite and the victim is a student at the church’s Christian school. Winn was arrested Feb. 22 on three counts of sexual assault of a child in Dallas County.
He also faces three counts of sexual assault of a child in Kaufman County. He remained at the Dallas County jail Monday, with total bail set at $375,000.
A church spokesperson previously said Steven Winn was a volunteer, not an employee, but had no other comment.
Larry Allen Winn, Steve’s 65-year-old father, was also arrested and charged with one count of Sexual Assault of a Child.
“They kind of deserve what’s happening,” said former church member Rachel Almand.
Almand is an outspoken critic of Open Door Baptist Church.
She attended the church from 2005 to 2012. She says her family was very involved at the Baptist fundamentalist church where women aren’t allowed to wear pants. Almand says her parents didn’t discuss in detail why they were leaving the church, since she was a teenager at the time, but they had a long list of grievances.
“Women just have to be submissive to the men, and there are no women leadership positions or anything,” said Almand. “It’s all run by men, and whatever they say goes. Women don’t have a voice.”
Now she runs a Facebook group called “Shut Down Open Door Baptist Church in Mesquite.” News of the arrest of Pastor Robert Ross was discussed there.
“That’s the thing with the pastors there— their whole thing is ‘Well, let’s try to pray about it’ or ‘let’s try counseling’ instead of ‘This is stuff that the law needs to be involved with.’”