Law Enforcement Weigh In On Ranchland Heights Pastor

Published: Jun. 10, 2016 at 11:09 PM CDT
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After a tip from a former church member, CBS 7 started asking questions about a pastor at a local congregation.

What we discovered was disturbing. He's a registered sex offender who was convicted of sexually assaulting two children in 2003.

What's even more shocking, church leaders say they're aware of the situation.

Phillip Rutledge is the pastor of Ranchland Heights Baptist Church in Midland, but he’s also a registered sex offender.

"It just sets the stage for contact with youthful people. It's like putting fire on a dry bush, it's going to burn," Gary Painter, Midland County Sheriff, said.

According to records Rutledge’s victims were two young girls ages 11 and 12 at the time.

"Most people when they hire someone they do a background check. Especially if it's a church or a school," Painter said.

Painter adds all offenders must fill out forms acknowledging they know what they can and cannot do.

"The thing about child sex offenders or predators because that's what they are, predators most of them don't get over it they just might be able to contain it."

Deacon D.J. Rambo with Ranchland Heights Baptist Church tells CBS 7 News “I can’t tell you that 100 % of the people know, but the vast majority know.”

Rambo went on to say "We make sure children are never by themselves in the sanctuary or any activities alone with the pastor."