CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST OREGON ADVENTIST CONFERENCE, AND ROSEBURG JUNIOR ACADEMY FOR 1992 RAPE OF FIVE YEAR-OLD
February 6, 2009
Sally Roe v. Western Oregon Conference Association of Seventh Day Adventists
Attorney Kelly Clark
(503) 306-0224 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Western Oregon Conference of Seventh Day Adventists, and the Roseburg Junior Academy, a private religious school run by the Adventists in Roseburg. The suit alleges that in 1992 a five year old girl was subject to sexual abuse and rape by an Adventist pastor who was assigned to Roseburg Junior Academy to conduct a “week of prayer.” The suit alleges that the pastor, utilizing the respect, trust, and obedience that a five year-old Adventist child would have for a pastor secluded her into an isolated area of the school, sexually abused and raped her.
“What we intend to prove will write an awful story, one of the worst I have seen,” said Kelly Clark, attorney for the victim, who frequently handles childhood sexual abuse cases. “The story this young woman, now 21, tells is chilling. She absolutely trusted the Church, the school, and anyone affiliated with them, especially a pastor there for week of prayer. To say she has been traumatized, confused, ashamed and psychologically wounded by this would be a massive understatement. This was not the kind of sexual abuse, like we often see, where the perpetrator feigns affection and tenderness. This was an outright assault, complete with cruelty, force, and threats.”
The suit seeks $3 million in general damages, and $250,000.00 for economic damages, primarily for past and future counseling and psychological treatment.
According to Clark, the victim is now a young woman, 21, attending community college. She has not been identified in the suit, under standard practice in Oregon courts. “She’s struggling,” said Clark, “but she doing the right things to get healed. It will be a long road.”
This is the second suit filed against the Adventist Church for one of its Roseburg area schools in the last few months. In late 2008, Clark filed a suit against the Milo Adventist Academy located near Roseburg, for sexual abuse of a teenage girl by an adult staff member there. That case is in process and scheduled in the regular course for trial sometime later this year.
Just before Christmas yet another case against the Adventists, was resolved, said Clark this one arising out of sexual abuse of a child at the East Salem Seventh Day Adventist Church by convicted serial pedophile Harrison, who in 1994 was convicted for sexually abusing numerous children both at the Adventist Church and at the Oregon School for the Blind. The case was settled just before trial for an amount that is confidential.