NEWS EVENT: New sex abuse and cover-up lawsuit filed against Bakersfield church
Youth minister admitted to molesting girls
Yet church officials refused to report crimes to police
To keep victim quiet, they told family “get church counseling”
Group says “Come forward, report abuse, get help & call police”
What: Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, child sex abuse victims and their supporters will announce a new sex abuse and cover-up lawsuit against a Bakersfield church. The lawsuit says that:
— A youth minister sexually molested a girl,
— He admitted to church officials that he abused girls,
— He kept working at this church – and others – for years after, and
— Church employees didn’t report the abuse and told the family to seek church counseling instead.
Where: Outside of Kern County Superior Court, 1415 Truxtun Avenue (corner of Truxtun and Chester) in Bakersfield
When: Tuesday, May 29 at 11:15 am
Who: Victims of child sex abuse who are members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a California woman who is the group’s Western Regional Director. THE VICTIM WILL BE THERE AND WILL SPEAK PUBLICLY.
Why: Today in Kern County Superior Court, a 29-year-old child sex abuse victim at the Bakersfield Day Spring Foursquare Church filed a sex abuse and cover-up lawsuit against the church and Damon Young, the youth minister who admitted to molesting her and other girls at the church.
The lawsuit says that Young repeatedly sexually molested the victim, Jessica Bohman, from 1987 to 1990 when Jessica was between 4 and 8 years old. When Bohman reported the abuse to the church in 1997, Young admitted to Foursquare officials that he abused Bohman and other young girls in his care.
Bohman and her family say that when they told Foursquare officials about the abuse, they were told to seek church counseling and not call the police. The church also refused to report the abuse to law enforcement, as required by law. Despite admitting the abuse, Young was permitted to keep his church job and church officials didn’t warn parents. In 2000, when Bohman’s family members learned that Young was still working with children, they again reported the abuse to church officials, who did nothing to warn families of the danger.
Bohman reported her abuse to law enforcement in 2010. Although Young admitted to molesting her, he served no jail time because he was 14 at the time the abuse occurred.
Because Foursquare church officials chose to protect an admitted predator and never reported to law enforcement, SNAP fears that the others hurt by Young may be suffering alone in shame and silence. They also believe that this pattern of cover-up and deliberate failure to report may have allowed child sex abuse to continue and thrive at Foursquare churches throughout the county. They also hope that other victims will find the strength to come forward and report to law enforcement.
Jessica Bohman is represented by Los Angeles attorney Anthony DeMarco (310) 927-9277, firstname.lastname@example.org. Copies of the lawsuit will be available at the event.
Contact: Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, CA, SNAP Western Regional Director, 949-322-7434, email@example.com
Barb Dorris of St. Louis, MO, SNAP Outreach Director, 314-503-0003, firstname.lastname@example.org
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP Executive Director, 314-566-9790, email@example.com