Texas ‘Cowboy Way’ pastor arrested, victim reveals his identity as teen abuse victim
A 25-year-old Texas man publicly identified himself this week as the second alleged victim of sexual abuse by a former pastor.
“I decided it’s time for someone to come out to show others who may be victims and who are scared or embarrassed that they aren’t alone,” Jacob Thibodeaux told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I receive no reward for this, and I’ll probably be shamed by members of the church more so than being applauded, which I’m fine with.”
Thibodeaux said he was a junior in high school when Cowboy Way Church pastor Dan Haby kissed him inappropriately after taking him out to dinner, then inviting him into a room in a Fort Worth home in which Haby was living at the time.
“He just started talking to me about my sexual encounters with my girlfriend, about how many times I masturbated a week — just real awkward conversation,” Thibodeaux said. Haby also allegedly asked him to take off his shirt while standing in front of a mirror, which was the only piece of furniture in the room. Thibodeaux refused.
Haby, now 51 years old, was initially arrested this past July for allegedly molesting another teen boy in 2000 and 2001, when he was the pastor at Stockyards Community Church. Haby has been the lead pastor at Cowboy Way since 2005. WFAA-TV reported that his wife, Melanie, is also a pastor there.
Thibodeaux first contacted authorities nearly a month after Haby’s arrest.
Haby was charged with indecency with a child by sexual contact after authorities were contacted by a third man in connection with an incident at a local restaurant in 2006 or 2007. He has not delivered sermons at his church since his initial arrest.
“These accusations, and the source of the accusations, have no basis in fact,” Haby’s lawyer, Mark Daniel, said in a statement. “We will be prepared to defend against them at the appropriate time.”
Thibodeaux told the Telegram that he was ready to forgive Haby, until he thought of how he would feel if someone abused his two daughters.
“I found him to be a charming and lovable guy,” Thibodeaux said. “He knows almost everything about me. I’ve confided some of my darkest secrets with him. I trusted him, and with my actions, I feel a sense of betrayal deep in my heart. But my feelings for Dan don’t turn the wrong into right.”