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Anti-LGBT+ church sued over historic child sex abuse and ‘protecting abusers’

Lily Wakefield May 24, 2020
anti-LGBT+ church sexual abuse

The anti-LGBT+ CrossPoint Community Church in Modesto, California, is facing a lawsuit for allegedly failing to protect children from sexual abuse by a youth pastor. (crosspointmodesto/ Instagram)

An anti-LGBT+ California church is being sued for allegedly failing to protect two young boys from sexual abuse more than 30 years ago.

Carl Epperson and Larry Spencer are suing the anti-LGBT+ CrossPoint Community Church in Modesto, California, for failing to protect them from sexual abuse as children.

The men claim they were abused by then-youth pastor, Robert Chapman.

According to The Modesto Bee, Epperson said he was molested by Chapman when he was 13-years-old. He said that the abuse was reported to church leaders and to the authorities, but the youth pastor was neither fired nor arrested.

Epperson said that he was brought into a room with his alleged abuser, to allow the youth pastor to tell “his side of the story”. He also alleges that detectives at the time questioned his sexuality.

He said: “They said I would be serving three to five years in California Youth Authority if I was lying.

“They asked, ‘Did you like it? Did you enjoy it? Did you ever think you might be homosexual?'”

Epperson added: “It was not something I wanted to talk about; I wanted to bury it, I wanted believe it didn’t happen. I had a lot of faith and trust in things I don’t anymore.”

Chapman, who led a “disciples group … which was supposedly to help young teen boys with issues related to reaching puberty”, continued to work at the church for a further three years.

In that time, he molested two more children and was finally convicted in 1987. The youth pastor negotiated a deal, pleading guilty to two counts of child molestation for a 300-day county jail term.

Spencer and Epperson are being represented in their case against the church by attorney Maricar A Pascual, of Joseph C George law firm.

Pascual said that the abuse “could have been prevented completely if people did their jobs and meant what they said when they said their priority is protecting children, not protecting abusers”.

He added that a third victim may join the civil lawsuit, but they had not yet decided.

CrossPoint Community Church is vehemently anti-LGBT+.

The church teaches against “any sexual expression that is not solely between a husband and wife”, and lists homosexuality and bisexuality alongside bestiality and pedophilia in its list of unacceptable behaviour.

It also states that “transgender behaviour” is “incompatible with the biblical witness”.  Clergy employed by the church can be fired “for officiating or participating in a same-gender marriage ceremony”.

 

More: anti-LGBT+ church, California, CrossPoint Community Church, lawsuit, Modesto, sexual abuse, youth pastor

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