Two decades after the death of former Texas pastor Vance Daniel, at least 20 women living in Central Texas have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

Daniel ministered at nine different Lutheran churches in South Carolina, Georgia, and Texas between 1944 and the 1980s. During that time, he allegedly assaulted several women in a variety of ways including groping their chests and inner thighs, rubbing himself against them during a hug, pinning them to a wall, and even intruding into their home and manhandling them onto a couch.

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Many of the victims did not feel confident in reporting these incidents to the church.

They either lived with it and continued to attend the church, or switched churches to avoid any more misconduct from Daniel.

Dr. Helen Maidment attended Gethsemane Lutheran Church in North Austin and was one of Daniel’s alleged victims. After years of keeping her story to herself, she came forward and called Bishop Sue Briner, who oversees the Southwestern Texas Synod – a collection of Lutheran congregations that includes Gethsemane and are part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

After her bold step to tell her story and reveal Daniel’s wrongdoings, more victims gained the confidence to do so as well.

Five women said they went to Karl Gronberg, the former senior pastor of Gethsemane, and informed him of the abuse, but nothing was done.

In February, Gethsemane’s longtime senior pastor submitted his letter of retirement after some of the women who came forward accused him of knowing about the sexual misconduct and failing to act.

Bishop Kevin Strickland, leader of the Southeastern Synod stated:

“We have zero tolerance for these things and we do as Bishop Briner has done to follow all the necessary steps. I am so sorry for the victims and the hurt they carry. My prayers surround them.”

These women coming forward allows for the church to look into their past in order to right previous wrongdoings and avoid any more cases like this in the future.

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