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California Child Sex Scandal Has SC Connection

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FORMER BOB JONES UNIVERSITY STUDENT’S ARREST REVIVES 2014 SCANDAL INTO MISHANDLED SEX ABUSE CASES

An entertainment attorney in California was arrested and charged with sodomizing a boy under the age of sixteen years old earlier this month.

Benjamin Lawson Adams, 30, was busted by police in Manhattan Beach, California and accused of soliciting the victim via social media.

“It is believed that Adams used his title of entertainment attorney to attract the victim’s interest,” investigators told CBS Los Angeles.

Adams worked for a production company affiliated with MGM at the time he was arrested.  He has since been terminated from his position, according to California media reports.

Adams is currently free on $200,000 bond as he faces nine felony counts – three for “lewd or lascivious acts,” three for “oral copulation,” two for “sexual penetration” and one for “sodomy with a minor under the age of sixteen.”

This week, Adams’ case jumped across the continent to Greenville, S.C., which is where he attended uber-conservative Bob Jones University (BJU) over a decade ago.

“We’ve received word that this man, who graduated from Bob Jones Academy and attended Bob Jones University, may have some victims in the Greenville, SC, area,” a post on the BJU Grace Facebook page noted.  “If you have pertinent information, please contact the number given in the article, the detective who is looking for more information on this man.”

The number is (310) 802-5133, and the detective investigating the case is Aleina Smith.

BJU Grace is a group of alumni and friends of the Christian school who are looking to hold its leaders accountable for their checkered past in dealing with sex abuse cases.

The organization is named after a Christian group that was hired, fired and then re-hired by school earlier this decade to study BJU’s handling of such cases.

This website first explored allegations against the school two years prior to the Grace report’s release – including the story of a fundamentalist pastor/ board member at the school who allegedly covered up a 1997 rape involving a prominent member of his congregation and a fifteen-year-old girl.

Several of those allegations – as well as the school’s botched response to them – were covered by the Grace report (.pdf).

“This is yet another example of the rank hypocrisy that’s all too common among South Carolina’s social conservatives,” we noted at the time.

The school apologized at the time for its failure to adequately respond to the reports.

“On behalf of Bob Jones University, I would like to sincerely and humbly apologize to those who felt they did not receive from us genuine love, compassion, understanding, and support after suffering sexual abuse or assault,” BJU president Steve Pettit told students and faculty in 2014. “We did not live up to their expectations. We failed to uphold and honor our own core values. We are deeply saddened to hear that we added to their pain and suffering.”

Was Adams part of the school’s sex abuse problem?  According to our sources, he was asked not to return to the school in 2005 and wound up finishing his undergraduate studies at Furman University.

Why was he asked to leave the school?  It’s not immediately clear, but the Grace report does contain a reference to “a BJU student (who) engaged in possible criminal behavior with minor boys who attended the Bob Jones Academy in the mid-2000s.”

Bob Jones Academy is a private K-12 institution affiliated with the university.

According to the report, the unnamed student “was required to withdraw at the request of the administration for a period of one year and did not return to BJU to complete his university education.”

The Grace report quoted former BJU president Bob Jones III as saying it was a “judgment call” not to turn the case over to law enforcement.

Stay tuned … we expect there to be several updates on this story as it begins to break (albeit belatedly) in the Palmetto State.

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