temple baptist

(Editor’s note: despite the claims of Temple Baptist Church, details in last week’s article of the Kokomo Perspective were vetted and corroborated thoroughly with multiple sources. We stand by our reporting. Read more about this story in next week’s paper.)

After declining to speak at length with the Kokomo Perspective prior to last week’s publication, Temple Baptist Church spoke out via social media last week in response to the story published concerning allegations made by former member Dawn Price.

In a statement on the church’s Facebook page, the church addressed the allegations leveled at it by various sources, including Dawn Price and her ex-fiancé, Andy Thornton. The church confirmed that an altercation occurred in 1991 just prior to Thornton and Price’s wedding. However, the church argued that no confession was made by Dawn’s father, Don Croddy, in regards to the accusation of his sexual abuse of her in front of Temple Baptist Church Pastor Mike Holloway.

“I first became aware of a potential family problem in 1990 when Dawn and her father were interviewed by Child Protective Services (CPS), though I was not informed of the topics being discussed at that time,” read the statement said to be authored by Temple Baptist Church Pastor Mike Holloway. “The authorities chose not to pursue any legal actions as a result of that investigation.

“My first knowledge of Dawn’s molestation accusation came in 1991, when Don, Dawn, and her then-fiancé, Andy Thornton, came to me five days before Dawn and Andy were to be married. In this meeting, I was informed of the alleged event that had occurred 14 years earlier. While no confession was made by Don, I immediately sought legal counsel, turning over all information to the Christian Law Association (CLA). I was encouraged by the CLA to take the precautionary measure of restricting Don from all children and youth programs in our church, which I did. Since that decision and up to this present time, I have received no information indicating concern about Don’s behavior.”

The church also confirmed that its leadership became aware Dawn’s YouTube video, which she posted in February 2017 as a confessional of her alleged abuse at the hands of her father.

“In February 2017, Dawn posted a video to Facebook making additional accusations against her father, claiming Don had admitted his behavior to me during the 1991 meeting,” said Holloway. “This accusation is completely false and an attack on both the truth and my character. Given the allegations made in Dawn’s video, I sat down with Don and our church deacons for an in-depth discussion. After this discussion, I asked that he resign as a member of our church.”

Price, however, stuck to her claim about that meeting in 1991.

“The incident five days before my wedding was to take place happened exactly as my then-fiancé, Andy Thornton, and I said,” said Price. “I am simply stating the truth as Andy Thornton and I know it. Andy asked Holloway why he was allowing an admitted pedophile to remain in the church, and Holloway said that my dad had repented, so therefore no action was required, and there was no reason to tell anyone. Why he would seek legal counsel and not report to the police is just mind blowing to me and the actions of a guilty man. He never once asked me if I was OK or needed anything.”

Additionally, Price shed light on Holloway’s comment on the CPS call made to the Croddy household.

“While attending Temple Christian Academy, CPS was called,” said Price. “I have always been forthcoming with this. While CPS was called, Mike Holloway also called my dad, Don Croddy. I was terrified of my dad. Try to put yourself in my position. While my abuse was sexual, my brother’s was physical, severely physical,” said Price. “While I was in one room being questioned by CPS, my dad made a commanding presence right outside the door. I lied to the CPS worker. I was a child. I didn’t want to be beat like my brother, I was in self-preservation mode.

“I had to go home with this man if they didn’t believe me, and I didn’t know what to do. So I did the safest thing I knew to do, especially with him being the commanding person he was; I lied. The authorities didn’t pursue legal action because I was a child who was terrified and had those around me who failed me. The system failed me. Follow-ups should have been made. Questions should have been more pointed. My dad shouldn’t have been allowed to be there. My pastor failed me. I do not believe that Mike Holloway didn’t know what topics CPS were called about that day.”

Price also made several more clarifications of events that occurred after her video was released.

She took issue with what she said was an attempt to broker a meeting between her and Holloway. However, she said Holloway declined.

“I was contacted by a caring member of Temple Baptist Church who was one of the first to reach out to me with love and support,” said Price. “They wanted to have a meeting between Holloway and myself with witnesses to try to discuss the matter. I was willing. Holloway, however, was not and told this member that his lawyers instructed him to have no contact with me.

“I had hoped that Holloway would have reached out to me with kindness and compassion. That would have provided so much healing for me. He would have brought so much closure for me, and none of this would be happening. Instead he contacted his lawyers.”