Saturday, September 22, 2012

Megachurch in Oklahoma ignored the rapes of two teen girls

A 17,000-member megachurch has been rattled by allegations that five employees waited two weeks to report the rape of a 13-year-old girl in a campus stairwell.

The Tulsa police say the girl is among at least three victims of sex crimes committed by two former employees of the church, Victory Christian Center.

The police said this week that the worldwide ministry’s pastor and co-founder, Sharon Daugherty, whose daily broadcasts are heard in more than 200 countries, knew about the accusations, but trusted employees to follow policies on reporting such assaults.

      
A former church employee, Chris Denman, 20, was arrested Sept. 5 on charges of raping the 13-year-old before a church service on Aug. 13. He also is charged with molesting a 15-year-old girl between Aug. 13 and Aug. 17.
 
Another ex-employee, Israel Shalom Castillo, 23, was arrested Thursday and charged with making a lewd proposal to a child and using a computer to commit a sexual crime.

Prosecutors this week also charged five church employees, including Ms. Daugherty’s son and daughter-in-law, who are both youth pastors, with failing to report accusations of the assault between Aug. 15 and Aug. 30.
      
The church said staff members in the ministry’s youth department learned of the accusations and spent about a week looking into them before reporting them to supervisors and human resources. Once the complaint reached human resources, “that department did not follow its own reporting policy,” the ministry said.
 

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