“We honored his request,” it said. “We did subsequently communicate the accused’s name when it became a matter of public record due to charges being filed and we were released to do so.”
For most people in the pews, the news was a surprise. Lancine Aday, 41, said Mr. Chandler had seemed genuinely upset. But she felt a bit uneasy. Her son had attended the 2012 camp, and she had lingering questions.
She hoped, though, the church was giving the victim “everything she wants and needs.”
“Knowing Matt and knowing his heart, I’d imagine he would bend over backwards for her to do what he thought was right,” Ms. Aday said, referring to Mr. Chandler.
‘We Have No Clue Where to Go From Here’
In November, the case became public after a grand jury indicted Mr. Tonne and the charges against him were listed on the Dallas County court website. He was arrested in early January and released on $25,000 bond.
When the church continued not to name Mr. Tonne to the congregation, Ms. Bragg said she felt so desperate that she wanted to stand in front of the church with a sign on a Sunday, with his name and case number, F1800705, which she has memorized.
Instead, she watched on Jan. 20 as Mr. Chandler rose to address the congregation. She still had barely heard from him. He had mailed a short handwritten card to the Braggs back in July, apologizing for not being in touch. When Mr. Bragg suggested coffee, Mr. Chandler’s assistant offered a time that was months away.
On that morning in January, Mr. Chandler gave a vague update about “the 2012 Kids Camp incident.”
He referred congregants to a statement on the church website, saying he did not want to get into details. The “whole thing” had made him feel “thin and exhausted and worn out and heartbroken.”