Another trial for the high priest and pedophile

The Oregonian

June 21, 2019

By Steve Duin

That the case of Michael Sperou has turned, once again, on the word “victim” is the cruelest of ironies.

To be labeled “victim” at North Clackamas Bible Community, where Sperou was high priest and pedophile, was to be derided and shamed.

Whenever you showed emotion or voiced complaint, you were mocked for playing the victim. “The word is used as a weapon in the church in the most condescending way,” says Jennifer Olajuyin, who escaped the personality cult 15 years ago. “It’s a word they use to make fun of people.”

And for the Oregon Supreme Court, it’s the damning word that justifies a new trial for Sperou, four years into a 20-year sentence for unlawful sexual penetration.

Two weeks ago, the state’s high court called foul on the trial court judge and the Court of the Appeals regarding testimony leading to Sperou’s 2015 conviction.

For years, seven women accused Sperou of sexually abusing them. The Supreme Court says Multnomah County Circuit Judge Cheryl Albrecht did not err when she allowed the prosecutor, Chris Mascal, to describe those women as victims.

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