ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
Minister abused & harassed woman, new suit says
Clergyman has now started a new church in Hazelwood
From pulpit, AME official said victim is “the devil” and “going to hell”
Church process “was degrading and humiliating,” lawsuit charges
Suit: “Officials want to harass and deter victims of sexual assault from reporting”
SNAP deplores church figures for not calling police & retaliating against woman
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will
– disclose a new civil lawsuit charging that an African American minister sexually harassed and assaulted a female staffer and church member,
– urge officials with the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church to aggressively reach out to others who “saw, suspected or suffered” the ministers crimes, and
– prod anyone with information or suspicions of crimes or misdeeds by the minister to “come forward, get help, expose wrongdoers, protect others and start healing.
Thursday, Jan. 30 at 1:15 p.m.
Outside Wayman AME Church (314-361-4123), 5010 Cabanne Ave. at Kingshighway in north St. Louis
A new civil lawsuit charges that Rev. Brenda Jones was sexually harassed and assaulted by Rev. Frederick McCullough and that AME officials treated her horribly when she reported the crimes.
According to the suit: “In 2011, Jones became a preacher and a member of Wayman Church, the same year that Rev. Frederick McCullough was assigned there. The next year, McCullough made escalating sexually inappropriate comments to her and forcing her to see a photo of McCullough’s penis. A month later, in his office, he grabbed her, tried to kiss her, forced her to bend over his desk, pulled up her skirt, tried to pull her undergarments down but she escaped. In December of 2012, McCullough again assaulted her in the church.”
Church officials knew, the suit says, that McCullough had sexually harassed other women he supervised or pastored to in AME churches (including in Georgia and Nebraska) before assaulting Jones but did not tell her or others “of McCullough’s propensity to sexually harass and assault women.” In 2004, for instance, AME officials “were aware that McCullough had engaged in “inappropriate sexual behavior” with a girl” and in 2010, they knew that McCullough “made inappropriate sexual comments to a female pastor.”
Church officials refused to report the allegations against McCullough “to law enforcement authorities, prospective parishioners, current parishioners, their families, victims, or the public,” the suit says. AME officials refused to investigate “until Jones filed a formal written complaint, and then subjected her to a three-month internal quasi-judicial process while letting McCullough stay in his position and disparage Jones from the pulpit.”
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