Stephen Bratton, 43, is a former Southern Baptist pastor who was arrested Sunday on charges of child sex abuse. Stephen was a vocal proponent of a Texas bill that would have made abortion illegal and charged women with homicide if they had the procedure done, an offense that is punishable by the death penalty under Texas law.
He testified in support of the bill in April and told lawmakers at the hearing ““Whoever authorizes or commits murder is guilty,” he continued, “They’re guilty already in a court that is far more weighty than what is here in Texas.”
While Bratton was claiming to be a pious defender of life, he was also allegedly molesting a teenage relative from 2013 to 2015. Thomas Gilliland, a spokesman with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, says Bratton is accused of inappropriately touching his teenage relative repeatedly which escalated to “sexual intercourse multiple times a day or several times a week”.
Stephen Bratton went to school for religious studies, receiving a degree in religious studies from Dallas Baptist University and a “Master of Biblical Studies, Theology” from the Reformed Theological Ministry. He was a pastor at the Grace Family Baptist Church from 2008 to 2019 and an influential figure in the local Southern Baptist community.
Stephen Bratton is currently free on a $50,000 bond but authorities have issued an emergency protection order that bars Bratton from seeing his wife or his children. He currently does not have a lawyer and his next court date has not been made public.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Stephen Bratton Confessed His Crimes to His Wife and Church
On May 15, Bratton confessed his crimes to his wife who then called the other pastors at the Grace Family Baptist Church for an emergency meeting. Bratton then confessed to his colleagues as well and was quoted saying he had “sinned in grievous ways.” His fellow pastors and wife immediately reported his confession to the police and Bratton was ready to turn himself in the same day. However, it takes time to put together a criminal case so he wasn’t immediately arrested or charged.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Bratton’s co-pastors, Aaron Wright and Erin Frye, “met with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office at their church on Bammel Westfield Road that same day, while Shiflet said he referred the complaint to the Department of Family Protective Services.”
Police finally arrested him on June 16 where he was charged and processed then later released on a $50,000 bond.
“This person’s life is in such a contradiction to the faith that we see no evidence that they are a Christian,” said Aaron Wright following Bratton’s arrest.
2. He Was Excommunicated from His Church
Following his confession, his church moved swiftly to excommunicate him from the congregation and scrub any trace of his name from their website. A spokesperson for the church confirmed that he had been excommunicated and said that Bratton is no longer allowed to perform ministry in the Church’s name.
During Sunday service on May 19, parishioners were made aware of Bratton’s crimes. The church also told their Montgomery County flock as Stephen had contact with several members of that parish as well.
Searching for “Stephen Bratton” on the Church’s website comes up with 0 results.
3. He has Seven Children
Stephen Bratton and his wife have 7 children together. There are a few archived photos from his now-deleted Instagram account that shows him celebrating his daughter Alyssa’s birthday. He also posted a photo of daughter Alex and son Ethan on their first day of TeenPact, a Christian educational ministry that offers teen-oriented programs on leadership, citizenship, and government.
4. He’s Deleted All of His Social Media Accounts
In addition to the church removing him from their website, Stephen has deleted all of his social media accounts. His Instagram and Twitter accounts are gone, and a search for him on Facebook yields 0 results.
It’s not clear if Bratton himself deleted the accounts but he has completely removed his presence from social media. Grace Family Baptist Church also deleted their Instagram and Twitter accounts following the controversy.
5. He’s a Trained Musician
According to his LinkedIn profile, Stephen Bratton is a professional musician in addition to being a pastor. He went to Wayland Baptist University where he majored in Music and went on to be an Assistant Manager at Guitar Center from 2003 to 2004. He was also the “Minister of Music” at the Old River Baptist Church in Dayton, Texas from 2004 – 2007.