Former Youth Minister Charles “Chuck” Bryan Named in Sex Abuse Suit

This article courtesy of The Edumond Sun.

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By Mark Schlachtenhaufen

A local mother has filed a lawsuit against an Edmond-area church, claiming that a former youth ministry volunteer allegedly conducted an illegal sexual relationship with her underage daughter.

Filed on June 26 in Oklahoma County District Court, the lawsuit names Chisholm Creek Baptist Church, 17600 N. Western Ave., the church’s pastor Dan Maxwell and Charles “Chuck” Bryan as defendants.

Jerry Kirksey, an Edmond attorney representing the plaintiff, said the Oklahoma City Police Department is investigating the criminal allegations and court proceedings in the civil case could be scheduled during the next couple of months. The church has an Edmond mailing address, but lies within OKCPD’s jurisdiction.

Kirksey said church staff made some “bad decisions” that have had a profound affect on the victim and the victim’s family. He said the victim has not yet been able to speak to investigators.

“It has been a difficult ordeal for all of them,” Kirksey said, noting that he has advised the victim’s mother to not speak to media outlets.

When contacted by telephone Wednesday morning, Bryan declined to comment. He has been a guest at Grace Rescue Mission in Oklahoma City.

Scott Allen, Grace Rescue Mission director, said Bryan has been asked “a couple of times” to leave the shelter for violating guidelines, but since the lawsuit was filed Bryan’s behavior has been “ideal.”

“I have no reason to put him on the street,” Allen said. “What he’s being accused of took me by surprise. I’ve never witnessed anything that would lead up to that.”

Maxwell said he had been away from the office and had not yet discussed the lawsuit with attorneys handling the lawsuit. Maxwell said when the abuse allegations surfaced, the church immediately ended its relationship with Bryan.

Bryan assisted with the church’s youth ministry as a volunteer, but he was never a paid staff member or a church member, only a visitor briefly earlier this year, Maxwell said.

Maxwell declined to discuss the lawsuit further.

“We want to do the right thing,” he said.

Lawsuit background

The lawsuit alleges that Chisholm Creek Baptist Church did not ensure that children who came in contact with Bryan were properly protected. The petition states Bryan was “under the color of authority” as assistant youth director.

In October 2007, Maxwell contacted the Grace Rescue Mission in Oklahoma City requesting that the organization provide volunteers to assist with various tasks at Chisholm Creek Baptist Church, court records show. Bryan was one of the volunteers.

In January, the church hired Bryan’s son to be the youth minister, court records show. Whether the son was salaried or not, Kirksey could not say. But Charles “Chuck” Bryan became a youth ministry volunteer.

As a result, Bryan met the victim. During January, February and March Bryan allegedly “molested, assaulted, battered, and conducted an illegal sexual relationship” with the victim, the lawsuit claims.

The plaintiff claims that due to the alleged abuse the victim, a minor, “has suffered severe, permanent psychological, emotional and physical injuries … .” The victim has and will face medical expenses due to the sustained injuries, the lawsuit claims.

Kirksey said in the civil case, a jury would determine the amount of damages.

Sex Abuse Charge Dropped in Camp Tracy Case

This article courtesy of Jacksonville.com.

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By Dana Treen, The Times-Union

A charge of lewd and lascivious behavior has been dropped against an 18-year-old resident of a Baker County home for troubled youths who had been arrested in an investigation of consensual sexual activity with another teenage resident.

Prosecutors and the Baker County Sheriff’s Office said they would continue to investigate unrelated accusations that an employee of Camp Tracey choked and manhandled residents. But the pastor of the Jacksonville church that runs the home said the teenagers involved in that case have recanted their accusations in a taped interview.

The sex charge against Benjamin Valentin Lewis was dropped Tuesday after the father of the 14-year-old who was involved said he did not want to prosecute, said Mel Bessinger, chief of the State Attorney’s Office in Baker County.

Bessinger said the sex acts were consensual. Lewis was released from jail, where he had been held on $3,000 bail.

“We certainly want to consider the wishes of the victim and the victim’s family,” Bessinger said.

He said an investigation is continuing into a charge of child abuse against “dorm father” John Edward Wilson, 46, who was arrested June 30. While unrelated to the sex case, the abuse involves the same 14-year-old, according to an earlier report in the Times-Union.

The investigation of Wilson began after residents being interviewed about the sex activity said they had been choked, slammed and thrown by Wilson at the youth home, located north of Glen St. Mary and operated by Harvest Baptist Church of Jacksonville.

On Wednesday, Harvest pastor Wilford McCormick said the accusers recanted the abuse charges in an unsolicited interview that was taped at the home after a July 4 cookout. He said the taped interview will be handed over to prosecutors today.

“Both the students who brought the physical abuse charges have totally retracted their statements and said they lied, made it up and fabricated the entire deal,” McCormick said.

McCormick said one boy came to a camp administrator and said he had made up the story about the abuse. Eventually, two boys said they simply wanted to get someone in trouble and a third said he made up the story, McCormick said. He said the admissions were taped with a volunteer teacher who is not part of the school administration.

Bessinger said prosecutors have not heard those statements.

“What is important is they didn’t come forward and tell us,” he said. “They haven’t come in here and talked to us.”

Baker County Sheriff Joey Dobson said the boys told child protection personnel they were abused.

“They stuck with their story,” he said.

Sheriff’s investigator Brad Dougherty said in the past week he has been averaging five calls a day from past residents of the camp who said they were similarly pushed around and shoved against walls with a forearm in their necks.

He said the callers said Wilson was ill-tempered and fought with other staffers as well as grabbed residents by the neck.

McCormick said Wilson has been a good employee.

“As far as Camp Tracey is concerned, we’ve had no problem with Mr. Wilson,” he said.