Houston Matters

Scandal involving a Houston-area attorney and Southern Baptist leader takes another turn

Recently released court records offer new insights into Paul Pressler’s sex abuse scandal, including statements under oath from his former law partner.


Then-Texas GOP party chairman candidate Jared Woodfill at the 2016 state Republican convention in Dallas on May 12, 2016.


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What was already a troubling scandal involving a Houston area attorney and Southern Baptist leader has taken another turn, now involving the man’s law partner.

You may recall last spring we told you about the Texas Supreme Court allowing a sexual abuse lawsuit to move forward against former judge, attorney, and Southern Baptist leader Paul Pressler.

Well, it has. And under oath, former Harris County GOP chair Jared Woodfill, Pressler’s former law partner, admitted knowing since 2004 of at least one child sex abuse claim against Pressler. That was 12 years before Woodfill was again warned about Pressler by a 25-year-old attorney at the Houston law firm.

Woodfill, a prominent conservative activist himself, denied then knowing about anything inappropriate.

Robert Downen has been reporting on this story — first for the Houston Chronicle and now for the Texas Tribune. In the audio above, he joins us with the latest, based on thousands of pages of new court records released in the last few weeks.

Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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