JACKSON, Miss. (CN) - A Baptist minister lured a 13-year-old girl into his hotel room and had sex with her during a Baptist State Convention in 2012, continuing a pattern of lewd behavior that church leaders knew about but failed to prevent, the girl's mother claims in court.
Rachel Stiff sued Danny Ray Hollins, Danny Ray Hollins Ministries, the Greater Fairview Missionary Baptist Church and others, in Hinds County Court.
Stiff claims that she sought help from Hollins, senior pastor of the defendant church, when her daughter began "acting out and showing signs of behavioral problems."
Hollins used his Danny Ray Hollins Ministries to promote his speaking engagements and distribute his sermons and writings, according to the 21-page lawsuit.
"In his position of trust and authority, Hollins was entrusted by both Rachel Stiff and Jane Doe to minister to them and to generally be their spiritual guide and mentor," the complaint states.
"Rachel Stiff, being a devout Christian, believed that her minister would have the answer to Jane Doe's behavioral issues, so she approached Hollins about the issue, and he suggested that Jane Doe become more active in ministry at Greater Fairview."
But Stiff says there was much about Hollins she did know at the time, and that her faith in her minister was woefully misplaced.
According to Stiff, the "membership and leadership of Greater Fairview knew of several, if not many, past instances of inappropriate sexual conduct and other lewd and lascivious acts committed by Hollins prior to the July 2012 conference, but failed to take action to protect Jane Doe, instead attempting to 'cover up' those actions."
For instance, she claims, "several deacons at Greater Fairview were once alerted that Hollins was meeting a minor child at a hotel, and intervened." However, "Even after being put on notice of Hollins' propensity for lust toward minors, the deacons did nothing to warn Jane Doe or other minor children of the congregation."
Before and after that incident, Stiff claims, "Hollins has paid various moneys, potentially through the Greater Fairview treasury, to minors or their parents to entice them to engage in sexual intercourse and other lewd and lascivious acts with him, and alternatively to 'keep quiet' about the sexual encounters."
Unaware of any of this, Stiff encouraged her daughter to associate with Hollins and "Hollins took this opportunity of being around Jane Doe more often to develop a relationship of trust with Jane Doe, in order to later be able to prey upon the minor child sexually for his own personal gratification," the lawsuit states.
The Baptist State Convention at which Hollins' alleged tryst with her daughter took place was held at the Marriott Hotel in Jackson, Miss., on July 16-20, 2012.
While at the conference, Stiff says Hollins, then 51, had her daughter go to the front desk and get a key to one of the rooms the congregation had rented, supposedly so that he could leave some unspecified items there..
"Jane Doe was both a minor child and not listed as an authorized key holder for the subject room. Despite these facts, employees of Jackson Marriott furnished Jane Doe with a key to the room, placing the minor child in peril," her mother says.
Throughout the conference, Stiff says, Hollins seized such opportunities to "engage in sexual intercourse and other lewd and lascivious acts with various minor children, including Jane Doe."
Even more startling, the mother claims, was that other pastors attending the conference not only knew of Hollins' scheme, but provided him with their room keys so he could indulge in sexual encounters with minors.
In sum, "Hollins used Jane Doe's vulnerable condition caused by her behavioral issues to prey on her in a sexual manner," Stiff claims.
In addition to Hollins, defendants include church deacons, pastors of other rural Baptist churches, and Jerry Young, vice president at The National Baptist Convention, USA, and a leader within the General Missionary Baptist State Convention of Mississippi.
Stiff seeks punitive damages for breach of fiduciary duty, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
She is represented by Derek Hall of Jackson.