Local Church Youth Group under Investigation on Allegations of Child Abuse

By Mary Garrigan
Rapid City Journal
July 22, 2008

A church youth group at First Assembly of God in Rapid City is being investigated on unspecified allegations of child abuse, the Rapid City Police Department confirmed Monday.

"We are not able to make any comment on that case, because it is an open investigation," Capt. Deb Cady said.

Cady said no arrests and no criminal charges have been filed in the investigation, which has been ongoing for more than two weeks.

Two members of the church who asked not to be identified said the investigation involved an all-night youth group activity called "Underground Church" that is designed to teach youth about the persecution of Christians in countries where religious freedom is not allowed by the government. The event took place June 13-14.

A phone call to the First Assembly of God's senior pastor, the Rev. Jeff Anderson, was returned by Randy Connelly, a Rapid City lawyer representing the church.

Connelly acknowledged that an investigation was being conducted but would not address any specifics. Connelly said he was "completely confident that the church will be vindicated." He said he expected a favorable outcome in the near future.

"I would in the strongest possible terms deny any allegation of child abuse or any wrongdoing whatsoever," Connelly said Monday.

Contact Mary Garrigan at 394-8424 or


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