Baptist pastor charged with child molestation


St. Louis Post-Dispatch

August 24, 2010

A 49-year-old Baptist pastor has been charged with one count of child molestation after St. Louis County police say he inappropriately touched a child younger than 4.

Terry McDowell of the 9200 block of Alpine Drive is currently being held on a $50,000 bond. He was charged Friday.

The investigation began May 17 when St. Louis County police detectives received a hotline referral from the Missouri Department of Social Services, Jefferson County Children's Division.

The victim reported to her parents that between January and May, McDowell, a trusted family friend, had touched her inappropriately while she was alone with him at his home. They took her to her pediatrician, who then reported to social services. The victim lives in Jefferson County. The suspect and his wife have been babysitting the child for the last two years, police said.

McDowell is the pastor at Gateway Southern Baptist Church, 4011 Tholozan Ave., but the victim's family is not connected to the church, said St. Louis County Sgt. Gary Guinn.

"The victim calls him 'pops' because he babysat her for a few years," Guinn said. "There is bible study and Sunday school at the church, so it's possible he's been around other children at the church and that's a concern, but we have no strong indications that there are other victims at this time."

Guinn said McDowell cooperated with police, but made no admissions to the offense.

In an interview with McDowell on the Ultimate St. Louis Bride Guide website, McDowell said he was an ordained minister and that he'd been performing weddings throughout the St. Louis area since 1999.

St. Louis County police are asking that anyone who believes they may have been a victim of a sexual crime by McDowell or anyone else to call 314-889-2341.

Elizabeth Holland of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report

See also:

St. Louis pastor arrested on molestation, Associated Baptist Press, 8/24/10

Reverend Terry McDowell gets bond reduced in sex abuse of child, KSDK News, 11/20/10