Lawsuit Claiming Church Conspiracy To Conceal Child Abuse Adds More Names and Charges
A controversial lawsuit alleging leaders of Sovereign Grace Ministries conspired to conceal the sexual abuse of children has been amended a second time, adding three more plaintiffs and a large number of graphic claims.
The amended lawsuit makes the stark claim that SGM leaders "conspired, and continue to conspire, to permit sexual deviants to have unfettered access to children for purposes of predation, and to obstruct justice by covering up ongoing and past predation." It alleges that SGM leaders failed to fulfill mandatory reporting obligations, and instead had alleged victims meet with and forgive their abusers.
Five plaintiffs are now using their real names.
SGM responded promptly, stating in part:
The charges in this amended complaint are serious, grievous, and difficult to read. The thought of such alleged abuse is extremely disturbing. Because of our resolve to see truth and justice prevail, we continue to work closely with legal counsel.
Our careful review of the allegations to date has not produced any evidence of any cover-up or conspiracy. If we discover otherwise, our Board will immediately report it to the authorities and see that it is prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Without minimizing the serious nature of these allegations nor the grievous harm individuals may have experienced, we understand that it is possible for people to be wrongly accused. We thank God for the judicial system where these allegations can be brought, a defense made, and a verdict rendered through a fair and just process.
One of the accused SGM leaders, John Loftness, released his own response, stating in part:
I ask that you keep this in mind as this suit is played out in the public arena: I have never physically or sexually abused a child—at any time, in any place, and in any way. Nor have I ever sought to shield someone I knew to be a pedophile from legal consequences for his actions.
Let us thank God that we live in a country where there is a judicial system which sorts these things out according to the rule of law. Let's pray for a fair hearing of this case and a ruling that is in keeping with what is right and true.
CT will review the amended lawsuit and update as needed.
CT reported when the lawsuit was first filed and added names and charges, as well as SGM's attempt to dismiss it. CT also reported when SGM founder C. J. Mahaney announced his departure from leadership this spring.