A 19-year-old El Dorado man has sued Temple Baptist Church and its youth minister, alleging the minister “groomed” him for an inappropriate sexual relationship.
By Deb Gruver
The Wichita Eagle
Aaron Long says in the lawsuit, filed this week in Butler County District Court, that Todd Hoiseth masturbated in front of him while holding a Bible, appeared nude in front of him, shared intimate details of his sexual relationship with his wife, and wrestled with him.
The pastor of the El Dorado church, Ron K. Jones, and Hoiseth said Thursday they were limited about what they could say because of criminal charges against Long.
“I’m hoping that the truth will be revealed from the very beginning to the very end,” Hoiseth said. “It’s too bad that Aaron’s come to this point, but I guess that’s between him and God.”
“We are literally caught off-guard as to why this is happening,” Jones said.
Long is accused of breaking into Hoiseth’s home, theft, stalking and criminal threat. A hearing to consider a motion to dismiss those charges is scheduled for April 8, according to court records. Wichita lawyer Richard Ney, who is representing Long in the criminal case, refused to comment.
Gaye Tibbets, Long’s lawyer in the civil lawsuit against Hoiseth and the church, said Long was 16 when the allegations against Hoiseth began. She said Long did not go to police because “he was a teenager who had been raised not to challenge authority figures and he thought Mr. Hoiseth was his ‘brother’ and ‘best friend.’ ”
Hoiseth, who is married, became the youth pastor at Temple in 2009, the lawsuit and the church’s website say. Long grew up in the church, attended youth group, sang in the choir, attended services and volunteered to do janitorial and maintenance work, the lawsuit says. His family also attended the church. Long was home-schooled, and so his “social circle was primarily made up of family and church members,” the lawsuit says.
The church encouraged Long to “trust Hoiseth, to meet with him for Bible study and counseling, to follow Hoiseth’s instructions and direction, to confide in Hoiseth, to accept Hoiseth’s counsel, to follow Hoiseth’s example, to pray with Hoiseth, to discuss intimate details of his life with Hoiseth, to spend alone time with Hoiseth, to go out of town with Hoiseth, to receive one-on-one counseling from Hoiseth,” the lawsuit says.
Between 2009 and 2012, Hoiseth initiated wrestling matches with Long when they were alone, and the sessions would last 15 to 20 minutes, the lawsuit says.
When Long was 16, “Hoiseth repeatedly showed (Long) a sex toy that was a figure with an erect penis in a barrel. Hoiseth did not connect the figure to any Bible lesson,” the lawsuit alleges.
In 2010 at camp, the lawsuit says, Hoiseth pulled his own pants down and shined a flashlight on his naked backside.
“Hoiseth laughed like it was a joke,” the lawsuit says. “(Long) found it disturbing.”
On the same trip, the lawsuit alleges, Long woke up to find Hoiseth standing naked next to his bed.
Hoiseth also discussed his sex life with Long and told Long about his sexual encounters with wife, other women and men, Long alleges.
Hoiseth bought Long gifts, took him shopping, went to movies with him and taught him how to drive a manual transmission car, the lawsuit says.
Later at camp in 2012, Hoiseth would wake Long in the morning for Bible study and “pretended to read the Bible with one hand and masturbated under his clothes” with the other hand.
After returning from the camp, Hoiseth began isolating Long from church, the lawsuit contends.
The lawsuit also alleges that Ron K. Jones, the pastor at Temple Baptist, asked Long if he were angry enough to kill Hoiseth if he could get away with it. Long said yes, the lawsuit says, but “did not threaten to kill Hoiseth and did not give Hoiseth or the church permission to disclose his statements during spiritual counseling to the police.”
“Hoiseth’s report to the police of (Long’s) statements a year prior made in confidence and characterization of those statements as threats were done in order to cause (Long) extreme emotional distress and to further alienate (Long) from the church he loved,” the lawsuit says.
The church and Hoiseth betrayed Long’s trust, the lawsuit says.