Five women in California have filed a lawsuit, alleging that an interfaith Christian group covered up cases of child sexual abuse, exerted financial pressure on its members, and that some members committed suicide. woke up
The lawsuit, filed late last month, lists five plaintiffs as sisters Darlene Diaz, 33, and Bernice Perez, 31.
Women are accused by the International Church of Christ (ICOC) and its affiliated organizations (Hope Worldwide, Mercy Worldwide, International Christian Churches, City of Angels International Christian Church, etc.) to “indoctrinate”, isolate and sexually exploit women. and alleged manipulation. According to Rolling Stone, they’re done through a rigid belief system.
The lawsuit also names the church’s founder and leader Kip McKean as defendants, as well as the estate of the late Charles “Chuck” Lucas. The women claim that church leaders have established an exploitation system to take anything from believers.
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The lawsuit further alleges that church members were pressured to fund special mission trips twice a year and donate 10% of their income to the church, driving some to depression and suicide. claim.
“If the tithing budget is not met, leaders or ‘disciples’ were forced to contribute the financial shortfall themselves, or members were forced to find problem members who did not pay their tithing. According to the complaint, their tithing was paid before the end of Sunday night.
According to the complaint, “the pressure to meet the strict demands of the church was a source of anxiety and depression for many believers”.
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Church members were reportedly given quotas to bring more members into the organization, ostensibly to rake in more tithing.
Sisters Diaz and Perez named convicted pedophile David Saracino as an abuser and claimed the church did not adequately protect them from him. It also included telling them, “I need a bath,” which was said to have been used as an “opportunity to violently caress her naked body while bathing.” Lewis claimed that Saracino had sex with her.
When the mother went to church leaders about Saracino’s abuse, the sisters claim that they made a complaint to him so that Saracino could escape the authorities.
Saracino was eventually sentenced to 40 years in prison for raping a 4-year-old child. A judge told him he was the type of person for whom the maximum sentence was set.
Gonzalez claimed that he was sexually assaulted by his Sunday school teacher for five years, starting when he was four years old. She also claimed that she was abused again in her church-related rehab program when she was 15 and when she was 17.
Peltola also reported being raped by an ICOC member during a mission trip to Honduras in 2012 when she was 13 years old. Blame it on someone” and called her a “slut” for months before finally claiming she was “responsible” and expelled.
“I was sexually abused at ICOC when I was five years old and was robbed of my childhood, but the trauma continues into adulthood and I feel like I am in survival mode all the time,” Lewis told Rolling Stone. “Having some sort of legal closure and acknowledgment of what happened to me as a child… would be very helpful!”
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“For decades, ICOC/ICC members and their affiliates have groomed and sexually abused children as young as three years old,” plaintiffs’ attorney Bobby Samini told Rolling Stone. said in a statement to the magazine.
“Instead of reporting sexual abuse to law enforcement, ‘church’ leaders shamelessly target and accuse survivors, telling them they are ‘risking their salvation’ if they don’t forgive their abusers.” “This lawsuit … will expose the perpetrators of ICOC/ICC and its affiliates, who allege religious loyalty all the while enabling child sexual abuse,” Samini said. “
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The ICOC did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment by the time of publication, but members of the church’s New York City chapter told The Christian Post that ICOC’s churches are bound only by their beliefs, He said he was not under control. Authority.