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Report: More Sexual Abuse Uncovered In Southern Baptist Churches, Remains Found In Arkansas Are Those Of Maleah Davis, Annual Report Ranks Houston Schools, And More

These are some of the stories Houston Public Media is covering.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Top afternoon stories:

Southern Baptist Convention.

Report: More Sexual Abuse Uncovered In Southern Baptist Churches

Earlier this year, a joint investigation by the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News revealed widespread sexual abuse in Southern Baptist churches in Texas and around the country. Now, the Chronicle’s found that abuse wasn’t limited to the United States. It also included missionaries who were supposed to spread the gospel, but instead sexually assaulted others — many of them children and teenagers.

The Chronicle’s investigation details the trail of five predatory missionaries who served in places like Taiwan, Malawi and Indonesia and left behind at least 24 victims.

The paper found the International Mission Board (IMB) — the world’s largest sponsor of Protestant missions — followed a common pattern: It repeatedly kept reports quiet, didn’t alert the public and often delayed or took no action against accused missionaries.

The board’s current policy calls for zero tolerance of child abuse and asks for people to report it. The IMB told the paper that it’s committed to a “rigorous examination” of its policies and procedures.

This undated photo released by the Houston Police Department shows Maleah Davis.

Remains Found In Arkansas Are Those Of Maleah Davis

The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences has positively identified the remains found last Friday in Arkansas are those of 4-year-old Maleah Davis, spokeswoman Michele Arnold told News 88.7 on Monday morning

Davis had been missing since May 4 and her disappearance was covered by national news outlets. Derion Vence, who was engaged to Davis’ mother, reported her abduction that day.

Authorities found the remains inside a garbage bag located near Fulton, about 330 miles from Houston, the Houston Chronicle reported. The discovery occurred after Vence allegedly confessed the location to Houston community activist Quanell X. Vence is currently in the Harris County jail under a charge of tampering with a human corpse.

Arnold said the cause and manner of death are pending.

Houston Matters executive producer and host Craig Cohen (left) and Robert Sanborn, president and CEO of Children at Risk.

Annual Report Ranks Houston Schools

The quality of public education is improving in Texas and some school districts in the Houston region continue to stand out, but several schools in the Houston Independent School District still lack progress. Those are some of the takeaways of the 2019 school rankings released Monday by the non-profit Children at Risk.

Since 2005, Children At Risk has been working on the annual report to rank public schools using criteria like test scores, demographics and graduation rates. The report ranks schools using A to F grades, with A being the highest and F the lowest.

Robert Sanborn, president and CEO of Children at Risk, visited Houston Matters to talk about the rankings. He said Texas schools in general are improving when it comes to low-income students.

Fourteen percent of the 905 elementary schools analyzed in the region got an A grade, while 8 percent received an F. As for middle schools located in the region, the report analyzed 322. Nineteen percent got an A grade, while 6 percent received an F. Finally, high schools in the Houston region got the best rankings, with 23 percent getting an A grade and 28 percent receiving a B.

You can read the results of the report about schools in the Houston region here.

Some Texas Cities Can Keep Using Red Light Cameras Temporarily

Despite a new Texas law banning red light cameras, the City of Humble and other municipalities will be able to keep their cameras running temporarily. That’s because of a provision in the law that allows cities to keep giving tickets until the end of their contract with the company that operates the cameras.

Sugar Land is another local community that’s been operating red light cameras. A city spokesman said their contract has something called an adverse legislation clause, which voids the contract if the state passes a law banning the cameras.

Houston used to have red light cameras but voters decided to turn them off several years ago.