Ex-Minister Sued in Sex-Assault Case

By Max B. Baker
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
December 6, 2007

FORT WORTH — A former Methodist minister who pleaded no contest last year in a sexual-assault case is being sued by the victim.

The lawsuit by the victim, referred to only as P.G. in court documents, says that James Leonard Finley's conduct was "so outrageous in character and extreme in degree as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency."


The family is seeking money to pay for medical expenses, including counseling, said Chuck Noteboom, the family's attorney. When reached at his home in Cleburne, Finley, 70, declined to comment.

The former senior pastor at First United Methodist Church of Euless was arrested in December 2005.

Euless police said Finley struck up a friendship with the 21-year-old man, who worked at a convenience store in Euless, and helped the family pay bills. Then Finley went to the apartment the man shared with his mother, where he fondled and offered to perform sexual acts on the man, whom police described as "immature."

The victim pleaded for him to stop and immediately reported the incident to the police. While the man was at the police station, police asked him to call Finley and ask about what had happened. In a taped conversation, Finley offered to perform more sex acts on the victim.

Finley pleaded no contest in October 2006 to assaulting an elderly or disabled person and received a two-year deferred sentence, according to court records and his attorney, Bruce Ashworth.

If Finley completes the terms of his probation, he won't have a conviction on his record, only an arrest.

Connally Dugger, district superintendent for the Mid Cities District of the Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church, said Finley voluntarily surrendered his ministerial credentials in December 2005, shortly after his arrest.

"He didn't fight this at all," Dugger said. "It was a very sad time for the church and the victim."

MAX B. BAKER, 817-390-7714


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.