A male personal assistant to a former Texas judge is filing suit against his old boss, claiming the justice sodomized him as a teen and told him to keep it a secret.
Gareld Duane Rollins Jr., the former assistant, alleges Paul Pressler III continued to sexually abuse him for decades, from 1979, when Rollins was only 14, until 2004.
Pressler, now 87, was a state representative from 1957 to 1959. He served as a judge in the 133rd District Court in Harris County from 1970 to 1978 and as a justice with the Texas 14th Court of Appeals from 1978 to 1992. Pressler was also elected first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention in 2002.
The lawsuit states Rollins and Pressler met when Pressler was leading a Bible study class at the First Baptist Church of Houston. The suit claims Pressler lured Rollins to his home, while Pressler’s wife Nancy was in the home, and he took Rollins to his private study, where he forced himself on the boy. The suit alleges these incidents happened two or three times a month while Rollins was in high school.
Shortly after high school, Rollins was in and out of prison for various drug and alcohol-related charges. In 2003, Pressler’s law firm hired Rollins as an assistant. After his parole in 2016 on DWI charges, Rollins saw a psychologist who specialized in post-traumatic stress disorder and repressed memories, which he claims helped him unlock the memories of decades of abuse from Pressler.
The suit also names Nancy, Pressler’s former law partner Jared Woodfill, Woodfill Law Firm, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and First Baptist Church of Houston as defendants.
Pressler is described as a leader in the “conservative resurgence” movement among Southern Baptists in the lawsuit.
In a court filing, Pressler has “generally and categorically [denied] each and every allegation.”
“Mr. Rollins is clearly a deeply troubled man,” said Ted Tredennick, Pressler’s attorney, “with a track record of multiple felonies and incarceration, and it is the height of irresponsibility that anyone would present such a bizarre and frivolous case — much less report on it.”
According to the Houston Chronicle, a revised version of the lawsuit filed Dec. 14 in Harris County seeks more than $1 million in damages.