Evangelical Leader Accused Of Child Molestation, Endorsed Ted Cruz

Screenshot/The Honorable Paul Pressler endorses Ted Cruz for President/YouTube

The former Texas judge and lawmaker is alleged to have abused the boy over a period of years, starting when he was 14.

Former Texas state judge and lawmaker Paul Pressler is facing allegations of child sexual abuse involving a man who was 14 when the abuse began, according to a lawsuit filed in Harris County.

Pressler has long been known in evangelical circles and played a key role in the "conservative resurgence” of Southern Baptism in the 1970s and 1980s. The former judge endorsed Senator Ted Cruz, one of the most openly evangelical candidates in the Republican primaries, during the last presidential election, .

The lawsuit alleges that Paul Pressler, a former justice on the 14th Court of Appeals who served in the Texas state house from 1957–59, sexually assaulted Duane Rollins, his former bible study student, several times per month over a period of years. According to the filing, the abuse started in the late 1970s and continued less frequently after Rollins left Houston for college in 1983.

Pressler's lawyer, Ted Tredennick, attempted to discredit Rollins by saying the man has a shoddy record over the past few decades.

“Mr. Rollins is clearly a deeply troubled man, 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,” Tredennick said. He would not give any further comment or respond to specific questions.

But Rollins claims his behavior was the result of his struggles with drugs and alcohol, a byproduct of years of abuse by Pressler.

Harvey Rosenstock, a psychiatrist who has been working with Rollins since August 2016, wrote in a letter included in the suit that Rollins is a “reliable historian for the childhood sexual trauma to which he was repeatedly and chronically subjected.”