The Assemblies of God, which defrocked prominent preachers Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart in the late 1980s because of sexual infidelity, has reached an out-of-court settlement in a child sexual-molestation suit brought by five men.
The denomination paid part of the $1.75 million settlement last month, as did three codefendants: its Southern California district, the 190-member Good Shepherd Worship Center in Carlsbad, and its former senior pastor, Dalton Webber, Sr.
James E. Boyd II, now 27 and living in Beverly Hills, filed the original suit in January 1993, claiming Webber had sexually molested him more than 100 times in eight years, beginning when he was nine years old. The suit contended that Webber had forced Boyd to perform sexual acts in motels, church camps, and the pastor’s office and home.
The other plaintiffs, now ages 25 to 32, told similar stories of repeated molestation between 1971 and 1985. The plaintiffs ranged in age from 7 at the beginning to 22 at the end.
“He lured them to all sorts of places,” says Patricia Taylor, Boyd’s attorney. “He was a very sophisticated pedophile.”
Webber, now 65, preached at the church from 1967 to 1989. He then spent three years operating an independent children’s ministry before moving in 1991 to Siloam Springs, Arkansas, where he is a bookkeeper.
Accusations did not surface until 1991, when Boyd told his therapist, who urged him to contact denominational officials. The Assemblies of God yanked Webber’s ministerial credentials after Boyd’s mother, Marie Swan, contacted them.
“No amount of money can erase the trauma they’ve experienced,” says Swan, 55, of Oceanside. She says an adopted son, Charlie, also was molested, starting when Webber arranged to bring the 13-year-old and other ...1
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