Former Illinois pastor Wes Feltner is accused by two women of abusive relationships, one of them sexual, when he was their youth minister in Indiana 17 years ago. The charges came to light as Feltner is lead candidate for the pastorate of First Baptist Church of Clarksville, Tennessee. The story was reported by the Clarksville Leaf-Courier.
Both women said they first reported the relationships to leaders at First Southern Baptist Church in Evansville, Indiana, in 2002. Both were 18 at the time of the relationships, and one of them was still involved in the church’s youth ministry. Both said they were told at the time to keep the relationships secret. Now, both women said they were told the same by the chairman of the pastor search committee at FBC Clarksville, when they recently reported their experiences to him.
Feltner served as pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Decatur from 2008-2013. He left there to take the pulpit of Berean Baptist Church in Burnsville, Minnesota.
Felter characterized his involvement with the women as dating relationships when he was single. “I agree with some of the facts alleged in the statements and deeply regret the hurt I might have caused to the women,” he told the newspaper. “But some of the allegations are not true and do not reflect who I was 17 years ago nor who I am today.”
Feltner says he has reached out to the women and asked for biblical resolution, but they have refused.
The leadership team of Tabernacle Church reports that Feltner’s background and references were checked at the time of his hiring as senior pastor in 2008. There have been no accusations of inappropriate relationships during Feltner’s tenure at the Decatur church, however, the church will offer opportunity for church members to report any new concerns.
The Tabernacle leadership team issued a statement on Wednesday, when the news came to light.
UPDATE: Baptist Press reports Feltner suspended from SBTS adjust position