A staff member of the Baptist Children’s Home and Family Services of Illinois (BCHFS) was arrested Friday, April 15, on multiple criminal sexual assault charges. Daniel W. Lanning Jr. was charged after a resident of the BCHFS facility in Carmi brought credible accusations against him. BCHFS has cooperated with the Department of Children and Family Services and the White County Sheriff’s office in their investigation over the past week, according to the head of the Children’s Home.
Lanning was arraigned Monday, April 18, on four counts of Criminal Sexual Assault/Supervisor with Victim 13-17. His bond was set at $250,000. Both Lanning and his wife were terminated after his arrest.
Lanning and his wife had served as house parents in a BCHFS cottage since July 2021. His wife was not implicated in the investigation, according to BCHFS. The head of the ministry also reports a thorough background check was conducted at the time Lanning was hired with no incidents reported.
“We are fully cooperating with investigators,” said Interim Executive Director Doug Devore. “The care of our residents is very important to us, and we have extensive policies in place in an ongoing effort to protect the children in our care.” There will be a thorough review of BCHFS policies and practices, Devore said.
Devore served on the staff of BCHFS 44 years, including 22 years as Executive Director. He returned in an interim capacity in February following the departure of the Executive Director to accept a position out of state.
The Baptist Children’s Home and Family Services is a not-for-profit ministry founded in 1918 to serve orphaned children in Illinois at its campus in Carmi. In recent decades, services have been expanded to assist children in troubled situations with the goal of restoring them to their families. BCHFS also operates a home for women with crisis pregnancies, a pregnancy resource center, and outpatient counseling centers in 14 locations across Illinois.
BCHFS is one of three entities operating under the umbrella of the Illinois Baptist State Association. The Association itself (IBSA) serves almost 1,000 Illinois churches in missions, evangelism, church planting, and leadership development. The Baptist Foundation of Illinois (BFI) leads financial development for Illinois Baptist interests and church members. All three entities operate with their own separate constitutions and boards of directors.