A Statement from Pastor Robby

All Campuses  |  Published on June 9, 2019

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Church family,

On Tuesday of last week, we were informed that one of our former summer interns was arrested for the statutory rape of a student. As you can imagine, I am both heartbroken for the victim and angry that this took place. In an effort to be as transparent and open as possible, I want to share with you as much as we can.

The timeline is fuzzy (and details are still coming together), but the abuse appears to have taken place last summer during the former intern’s 10-week service period with our student team at the Gallatin Campus. One of our student pastors first heard rumors of the situation in December, and he immediately informed local law enforcement and our leadership team. Since law enforcement was conducting an investigation, we were unaware of the outcome until local police made an arrest last week. Regardless of the time and location, the fact is that an intern who was representing our church allegedly abused their position of influence with a student. And, if true, this is unacceptable to us. We will continue to work closely with law enforcement in every way we can.

Our primary concern has been, and continues to be, for the victim and her family. I spoke with them on Thursday, and we hope to support them with love, support, counseling, and prayer. Please join us in praying for them as well.

As we grieve for the victim, we are also deeply saddened that an event like this took place, especially with a student who was entrusted to our care. As with all of our employees, every intern we hire must pass a strict background check and interview process before they can serve with our church family. It sickens me that our processes and safeguards didn’t prevent this from happening. Long Hollow is a place where we take moral integrity and accountability seriously, and nowhere is that more crucial than on our staff. We’re doing our best to uncover how this relationship developed, and will do everything in our power to keep this from ever taking place again.

This is a difficult time for the victim, her family, and our church. Again, please join me in praying for everyone affected by this. The Bible teaches that God is both just and merciful, so we are also praying for the perpetrator of this crime as well. Make no mistake, all abusers should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, but God is gracious to those who turn to Him in repentance.

If you have further questions about this tragedy, please refer to the FAQ following this statement.

Robby Gallaty, Senior Pastor

Additional Questions

When were you notified?

We were notified of the abuse in December of 2018 and reported it to the Gallatin Police Department shortly after. The Gallatin Police Department then transferred the case to the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office.

How long did the abuse take place?

We don’t yet have a full picture of the exact timeline. The intern served with us for 10 weeks, and our understanding is that the abuse likely happened toward the end of his internship (and possibly continued for a time after).

What was the employee’s job?

The employee was serving as a short-term summer intern in the student ministry.

Which law enforcement agencies are involved?

The Sumner County Sheriff’s Department is the agency involved at this time.

When and where did these incidents occur?

We do not know the details of the alleged crime at this time. We do know that it did not happen at our summer student camp, or on-property at a Long Hollow campus.

How many victims were involved?

One victim was apparently involved, which is far too many.

Is it possible there are more victims?

It is possible, but we have had no other reports in the 6 months since we reported the initial rumors.

What happened to the employee?

The intern’s 10-week internship ended in July 2018 along with the rest of our summer interns. An investigation was conducted by law enforcement following our report in December of 2018. The former employee was arrested on June 4, 2019.

What are you doing to prevent this in the future?

In addition to the thorough background check and interview process that all Long Hollow employees must complete, we have also clarified and expanded our internal policies. We’ve restricted interns from befriending students on social media, updated transportation policies, and enhanced our training process. We have also developed a comprehensive Child Protection Policy which includes an extra layer of safeguards, accountability, and training.

What help is available for community members?

Our Member Care Team is ready to serve anyone who is currently suffering from, or has previously suffered from abuse. Our Child Protection Team also serves those who have been hurt. For more details, please email russell.irwin@longhollow.com.

If you or someone you know is a victim of childhood sexual abuse, you can also reference this resource for a list of support agencies in our community.

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