February 24, 2018
By Lillian Schrock
Six Oregon men filed a lawsuit Friday against the Albany First Assembly church, and the state and national organizations that operate the church, for sexual abuse they say they suffered as children in the 1980s, according to the Portland law firm representing the plaintiffs.
The lawsuit alleges that the church and its governing organizations failed to investigate and forward to police reports that a youth leader in the church had sexually abused a boy. Two leaders of a church youth program were later criminally convicted for sexually abusing several boys.
According to the complaint, Ralph Wade Gantt and Todd Clark were leaders in the church-sponsored Royal Rangers, an educational and recreational program for boys similar to Boy Scouts. The lawsuit alleges Gantt and Clark abused their position of leadership, trust and respect to repeatedly sexually abuse the six plaintiffs when they were as young as 10 years old.
Five of the plaintiffs are represented by their initials in the lawsuit. The sixth plaintiff is listed Anthony Burwell.
The complaint asserts Gantt and Clark frequently had the plaintiffs and other Royal Rangers members stay overnight at their houses for sleepovers, took members on overnight camping trips and hosted members at their houses for Bible studies.
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