CYPRUS STATION, TX- A Texas pastor who backed bill criminalizing abortion is charged with having sex with a teenage relative multiple times a day for years.
Stephen Bratton, who resigned from Grace Family Baptist Church in Cypress Station last month, was charged Friday with continuous sexual abuse of a child, Senior Deputy Thomas Gilliland said Saturday.
The 43-year-old is accused of inappropriate touching that escalated to “sexual intercourse multiple times a day or several times a week” from 2013 to 2015, Gilliland said.
Bratton seemed to have a keen interest in controlling women’s bodies and their health care. Because, of course he did.
Bratton has been an outspoken pro-life advocate, making national news recently for supporting a failed bill that would have made it possible to criminally charge women who terminate their pregnancies.
Bratton didn’t merely want to prosecute women for abortion, he supported a bill that have made abortion a capital felony and could even carry the death penalty for women.
The Houston Chronicle reports Bratton confessed to his wife, who called his fellow church leaders. To their credit, they notified police the same day and took steps to immediately dismiss him and excommunicate him.
Bratton posted bond and was released.
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.
The facts are:
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.
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.
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.
According to his LinkedIn profile (before it was deleted), 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.
Speaking of child molesters, here’s another story that you probably missed – this time out of Perris, California.
According to a CPB press release, Border Patrol agents landed two more monumental arrests recently that resulted in two illegal alien sex offenders getting apprehended.
In Calexico, California, U.S. Border Patrol agents that were stationed at the El Centro Sector arrested two previously deported sex offenders over the weekend.
The first arrest took place on Friday, February 8th at roughly 12:44 p.m., according to the release. Agents that were working at the El Centro Station encountered a male subject whom they believed to have illegally entered the United States.
The illegal entry was suspected to have taken place approximately 13 miles west of the Calexico West Downtown Port of Entry. When agents arrested the suspect and brought him to the El Centro Station for processing, they made quite the discovery when performing a records check on him.
While reviewing information on the subject, agents were able to identify the suspect as Ricardo Saucedo-Hernandez, a 52-year-old Mexican national.
The records check revealed that Saucedo-Hernandez was convicted on April 16th, 2003, for “Annoying or Molesting Child Under 18” out of Perris, California. That previous conviction landed Saucedo-Hernandez in jail for 120 days back in 2003. Records further detailed that he’d also been previously ordered to be removed back on September 11th, 2017.
— CBP (@CBP) February 10, 2020
The department’s press release stated that Saucedo-Hernandez is being held in federal custody pending further criminal prosecution.
The second arrest took place the two days later at approximately 12:00 a.m. on February 10th. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Calexico Station apprehended a man suspected of illegally entering the United States around 16 miles east of the Calexico West Downtown Port of Entry.
Much like the previous subject arrested on Friday, the suspect was transported to the El Centro Station for a records check on their immigration status and previous criminal history.
Agents were able to identify the suspect as 37-year-old Mexican national Armando Valenzuela-Salazar
. Not only was Valenzuela-Salazar previously deported from the country, but he was also convicted for “Sexual Battery” out of Greenville, North Carolina back on February 3rd, 2011. Valenzuela-Salazar was sentenced to serve 60 days in jail for the conviction, but was then ordered removed by an immigration judge on March 14th, 2011.
The suspect is also in federal custody pending further criminal prosecution.
According to the CBP, agents working at the El Centro Sector have already arrested and removed 23 individuals in fiscal year 2020 who were either already convicted or wanted for sexual offense charges.
When the agents working at the El Centro Sector aren’t arresting and removing sex offenders from the country, they’re also doing a great job removing dangerous drugs from the street.
On Sunday, February 10th, El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents working at the Highway 86 immigration checkpoint arrested two U.S. citizens suspected of smuggling liquidized methamphetamine.
A blue Chevrolet Silverado hosting a 25-year-old male driver and an 18-year-old male passenger approached the checkpoint at approximately 2:55 p.m. that day. One of the K-9s present had alerted on the vehicle, and the car was moved over to the secondary inspection area.
El Centro Sector #BorderPatrol agents arrested 2 men suspected of smuggling narcotics. A #K9 detection team alerted to the vehicle & discovered liquid #meth in the fuel tank. Checkpoints are crucial to keeping these highly dangerous drugs off the streets. https://t.co/QhALMRTUkE pic.twitter.com/3nXGOJqcup
— USBP Chief Patrol Agent, El Centro Sector (@USBPChiefELC) February 10, 2020
While performing the secondary inspection, agents had found methamphetamine in liquid form mixed in with the fuel of the vehicle after field testing the substance. Both the suspects, drugs, and their vehicle were handed over to the Drug Enforcement Administration thereafter.
Chief Patrol Agent of the El Centro Sector, Gloria I. Chavez, stated the following about the recent discovery and arrest:
“This seizure highlights the importance of our checkpoints. It also speaks to the outstanding work that Border Patrol agents do on a daily basis to keep our country safe and protect communities.”
As of this time, the total weight and street-value of the seized drugs isn’t known. Based upon the manner in which it was discovered, further lab testing is required before the aforementioned can be fully determined.
Charles Dickens may have said it best in the opening paragraph of his novel A Tale of Two Cities.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
While it was set historically against the French Revolution and contrasted London and Paris, it strikes amazingly true when used to contrast what we are experiencing right here in America, right now.
If Dickens were alive today, he could change the title to A Tale of Two Americas.
The amazing success that we are seeing as a nation under the current administration versus the all-out assault we are facing on our southern border.
Recently, a tour was conducted at that very location. The tour guide was Art Del Cueto, National Vice President of the Border Patrol Council. A segment of this tour and the conversation with our guide can be seen below.
Here is a little about Art’s career.
Art has been with Border Patrol since 2003. His first duty station was Casa Grande, Arizona, where he helped in the effort to establish a new substation at Three Points, Arizona.
Throughout most of his career, he patrolled on the Tohono O’odham reservation, assisting on numerous drug and smuggling cases.
He responds to over 90% of all significant incidents within the Tucson Sector including shootings, accidents, and agent assaults. As an agent who is fluent in Spanish, he routinely leads the questioning of apprehended subjects.
Art has also worked for the National Border Patrol Council for the last ten years. He currently serves as President of Local 2544. Prior to working for Border Patrol, Art worked for a maximum-security state prison in Tucson. Art has lived most of his life in Arizona.
On this particular tour, Agent Del Cueto takes us back even further than his CBP days.
“I grew up in a small town, a border town called Douglas, Arizona. I grew up seeing border patrol do their job,” he said. “I’ve always seen border patrol out here, I’ve always seen law enforcement, and I have always gravitated towards that.”
Art was born in Mexico. His father was an immigrant who came to the US legally.
“My dad always taught us to be grateful to be in this country,” Del Cueto said. “I think that was the foundation that helped me get to where I am constantly at.”
“I grew up on the border, I was born on the border, I was raised on the border, I’ve worked on the border,” he continues. “I know what is happening out here.”
So, what exactly are the types of things he is referring to when he says he knows what is happening?
This week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued the following press release.
The headline reads: Recently Convicted Child Sex Offender Arrested by Border Patrol Agents.
U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested a previously deported child sex offender near Sasabe Thursday afternoon.
Tucson Sector agents patrolling the desert apprehended 22-year-old Alexander Morales-Domingo, a Guatemalan national, around 6 p.m.
Records checks revealed Morales-Domingo was convicted of lewd or lascivious behavior/lewd or lascivious battery – sexual act with a person 12-15 years of age in Collier County, Florida, December 6, 2019. He was sentenced to five years’ probation and ordered removed from the country December 26, 2019.
As a previously deported sex offender, Morales-Domingo faces federal prosecution for criminal immigration violations.
All persons apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol undergo criminal history checks using biometrics to ensure illegal aliens with criminal histories are positively identified.
So, in a matter of 60 days, an illegal immigrant was convicted of sexual misconduct of a minor in Florida, was removed from the country and was subsequently arrested 2,310 miles away, back in the US.
This case is just one of a thousand stories we could tell about the struggle at our border to keep our citizenry safe.
But it strikes at the heart of what Del Cueto sees every day.
Continuing his tour, he said that they have better structure where he is than a lot of other areas have.
Pointing to the 15’ tall fence and the razor wire, he said that the wire was added when President Trump stepped up and dedicated resources to better secure our border.
Del Cueto said that a common occurrence was seeing groups who would come up to the fence and weld small pieces of metal to the south side of the fence and make a ladder. Then they would just repel down.
Did you know that Law Enforcement Today has a private new home for those who support emergency responders and veterans? It’s called LET Unity, and it’s where we share the untold stories of those patriotic Americans. Every penny gets reinvested into giving these heroes a voice. Check it out today.
“What I want people to understand is, it’s not just a bunch of dumb farmers over there (pointing across the border towards Mexico) doing this,” said the veteran agent. “They are very organized. It is a very organized criminal organization.”
He pointed to one of the major flaws in our current immigration system.
You can be a convicted criminal in your own country, guilty of heinous crimes, but if you have never been to the U.S. and committed a crime, you come here, CBP will run you through the system and your record shows clean, not knowing what crimes you may have committed in your own country or others.
“We have people renting their kids out in Mexico, because they know that exposes a loophole in immigration,” stated a frustrated Del Cueto. “You cannot detain these children for more than 20 days. Then the child goes back to Mexico, where they will rent them out again.”
“This area has been notorious for drugs coming into the country for as long as I can remember.”
He called these smugglers (both humans and drugs) extremely sophisticated, pointing to the types of technology that they use.
Two examples: they have night vision, and they set up communications via towers and even underground telephone trunk cables for long range capabilities.
Describing the depths of the problem at our border, he recounted one particular experience.
“I specifically can tell you, that I have seen the same guy, a Mexican national, during the last administration (Barack Obama), deported 17 times.”
Based on the latest figures we could find, the average cost of detention for one individual was $5,633 and the average cost of deportation was $10,854. Using those numbers, it cost U.S. taxpayers $280,000. That is just one guy.
In Fiscal Year 2016, ICE and CBP spent $3.2 billion to identify, arrest, detain and deport undocumented and criminal aliens.
Stepping aside from the human aspect of the southern border, Del Cueto pointed to another problem. Sewage pipes on the Mexican side of the border burst. It was spilling raw human sewage at a rate of up to 40,000 gallons a day at some points.
The ranchers in the area rely on well water for their crops and livestock. The sewage was seeping into the ground and contaminating wells.
How was that addressed? Chlorine tablets. Someone threw chlorine tablets into 40,000 gallons of raw sewage.
LET carried a story dedicated to this issue, which you can read here.
Now back to the people.
“When you are patrolling in the day, your vision is a lot better,” Del Cueto told us. “At night, it is more difficult, and you count on equipment to help you patrol this area.”
Continuing, he said:
“I can’t call for back up and say I am at 5th street and 6th Avenue. You’re in the middle of nowhere.”
Hearing the inflection in Del Cueto’s voice at this point helps you understand just how dire the situation often is for the agents tasked with securing our borders.
The area he works holds the record for number of illegal immigrants apprehended in one year.
“The largest group I ever encountered alone was 80 people,” he said. “You have to wait for backup. You have to wait for transport.”
One of the issues he touched on was the difficulty that CBP has in getting agents.
“One of the issues that we fell into was that border patrol agents received a pay cut, no other individuals in CBP did.”
He pointed at the remote locations and the long hours as other deterrents to the recruiting effort.
Del Cueto is not shy in addressing what it will take.
“We need more politicians that are behind us. We need more media that is willing to tell the story. And, we need more managers in our own agency that are willing to be leaders and lead from the front.”
Winding down the tour and the conversation, Del Cueto gave us insight as to why he fights this battle and why it is important.
“I know America is not perfect. I don’t think anyone is going to tell you it is. But it is better than anything else, and we need to preserve that. This is the only country that has individuals constantly wanting to ‘break in’ you could say, not be detected and remain here.
If we open our borders, if we lower our vetting process, then is America going to be as great as it has always been, or are we diminishing it?”
Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today? With so much “stuff” happening in the world on social media, it’s easy for things to get lost.
Make sure you click “following” and then click “see first” so you don’t miss a thing! (See image below.) Thanks for being a part of the LET family!