In other posts, the clergy sexual abuse lawyer at The Doan Law Firm has discussed the problem of sexual abuse of children by members of both the Catholic and Protestant clergy. In today’s post, we report on several recent cases where members of the Protestant clergy used their positions of trust to abuse and exploit children. He will then discuss the legal options that may be available to adult survivors of child sexual abuse who wish to hold their abusers accountable for the harm they have caused.
A review of publicly-available news reports reveals there have been at least 7 instances within as many months where former members of the Protestant clergy have been sentenced to prison after being convicted on charges of child sexual abuse.
On July 2nd of 2020 Logan Wesley III, the former pastor of Trinity Temple of God in Christ Church in Texarkana (AR), was ordered to serve 5 consecutive life sentences plus an additional 220 years after he was found guilty on 5 counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, 9 counts of sexual abuse of a child, and 2 counts of indecency with a child by sexual contact. Although Wesley’s victims are now adults, he was prosecuted under Arkansas’ criminal code which allows sexual abuse charges to be filed at any time if the victim was a child when the abuse occurred.
On May 22nd of 2020 Curtis Brown, the former pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Albuquerque (NM), was sentenced to serve a total of 33 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually abusing a 5-year-old boy.
On March 19th of 2020 Troy Anthony Piccaluga, the former pastor of Redwood and Eagle Lake United Methodists Churches in Vicksburg (MS), was sentenced to a total of 50 years in prison after being convicted on charges of statutory rape and sexual battery involving two 14-year-old girls.
On February 21st of 2020 Orlando Martinez-Chaves, the former pastor of Iglesia Pentecostal Lirio de los Valles in Jersey City (NJ), was sentenced to 8 years in prison after being convicted on counts of sexually assault and child endangerment involving a 10-year-old girl.
On January 31st of 2020 Michael Sperou, the pastor of North Clakamas (OR) Bible Community Church, was sentenced to 13 years in prison after being convicted of sexually abusing a 12-year-old on two occasions between 1991 and 1996. Sperou was convicted under Oregon law, which allows an adult offender to be prosecuted at any time before a child victim reaches 30 years of age.
On December 20th of 2019, a judge in Gadsden (AL) sentenced “youth evangelist” Paul Edward Acton Bowen to more than 1,000 years in prison after Bowen entered guilty pleas on 28 counts of sexual abuse, sodomy, enticing a child for sex and traveling to meet a child for sexual abuse, involving six boys who were between the ages of 13 and 16 at the time.
On December 13th of 2019, Ronnie Gorton, a former “youth pastor” at Awakening Church in Atoka (TN) was sentenced to 38 years in prison after being convicted on charges including “… exploitation, contributing, furnishing alcohol, sexual battery by an authority figure, statutory rape and continuance sexual abuse of a minor.”
In addition to any criminal charges filed, every state allows victims of sexual abuse to file a civil (non-criminal) lawsuit asking a court to order an abuser to pay compensation (“damages”) to his or her victims. Although there is considerable variation between each state’s laws, in the criminal cases listed above each state would also allow lawsuits against the abuser if a lawsuit is filed within certain time limits.
Alabama: Lawsuits must be filed within 2 years of the date on which the abuse occurred.
Arkansas: Civil lawsuits filed by victims of child sexual abuse must be filed withing 3 years of the date on which the abuse occurred or the date the abuse was discovered.
Mississippi: A victim must file a civil action within 3 years of the date of the abuse or within 3 years of the discovery of abuse.
New Jersey: Lawsuits must be filed within 2 years of “reasonable discovery” of the act of abuse.
New Mexico: A civil action against an abuser can be filed at any time before a child sexual abuse victim reaches 24 years of age or within 3 years of the discovery of abuse.
Oregon: Victims must file a civil action within 6 years of reaching 18 years of age or within 3 years of discovery of the abuse.
Tennessee: Civil lawsuits against an abuser must be filed within 1 year of the date of abuse or within 1 year of a victim’s 18th birthday.
Due to the potentially complex legal issues involved in lawsuits filed by adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, our sexual abuse victim’s lawyer always recommends that victims speak with a lawyer who is thoroughly familiar with each state’s rules of civil procedure that may apply in childhood sexual abuse lawsuits. One such lawyer is the clergy sexual abuse lawyer at The Doan Law Firm, a national law firm with offices located across the country.
When you contact the clergy sexual abuse lawyer at The Doan Law Firm, there is never a charge for us to review the facts in your case or for you to speak directly with our clergy sexual abuse lawyer to discuss the legal options that may be available to you. Should you decide that a lawsuit is in your best interest, and that you would like for us to represent you in court, we are willing to assume full responsibility for all aspects of preparing your case for trial in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of the final settlement that we are prepared to win for you.