Denomination Sued in Sex Abuse Case

The Church of God denomination is being named as a defendant in four lawsuits related to sex abuse charges. Former pastor Sandy Martin Cook was sentenced in February on multiple counts of third-degree sexual assault and sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or a custodian. He was sentenced to 20 years to 60 years in prison.

Three of the plaintiffs in the case and one additional alleged victim have now filed suits against Cook and the Church of God. According to the linked article, “the suits maintain that the Church of God knew of Cook’s ‘propensity of sexual misconduct on minor children’ in the 1990s, yet did nothing to stop it. The suits accuse the church of conspiring to hide Cook’s activities and of ‘using threats, intimidation, religious doctrine and coercion to ignore and prevent the abuse from being reported.”’

This case is significant because this will be the wave of the future if denominations do not immediately take warning. Church autonomy will not be an adequate legal dodge, especially when collusion, corporate denominational intimidation, foreknowledge, and deliberate neglegence can be both proven and documented.

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