Sex Abuse Scandal Widens at Tulsa Megachurch

Five employees of a 17,000-member megachurch in Tulsa, Oklahoma, are scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday for waiting two weeks to report the rape of a 13-year-old girl in the church's stairwell. Each of the employees of Victory Christian Center face one misdemeanor count of failing to report child abuse in connection with the rape of a girl by 20-year-old Chris Denman, then an employee of the church. Denman also is facing charges of molesting a 15-year-old girl, making a lewd proposal to a child and using a computer to commit a sex crime involving a 12-year-old girl.

A second former employee, Israel Castillo, 23, was also arrested last week on charges of making a lewd proposal to a 15-year-old girl and using a computer to commit a sex crime. According to the Associated Press, Tulsa police have said a third suspect could face charges in the sexual abuse of a fifth victim. 

During her sermon last weekend, Sharon Daughtery, head pastor of the church, encouraged anyone who knew about child abuse to come forward, and the church has issued statements accepting responsibility in the lapse in reporting the crime. Church policy requires employees report allegations of abuse to their department head and the director of human resources within one hour. Additionally, state law requires they report it to the state Department of Human Services. The five employees being arraigned this week are currently suspended and include the pastor's son, John Daughtery, who serves as youth pastor, and his wife, Charica Daughtery.

 

 

 

 

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