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Canada Man assaulted by Sunday school teacher says Pentecostal Church failed to protect him

18:55  10 july  2018
18:55  10 july  2018 Source:   cbc.ca

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A Newfoundland man who was sexually assaulted by his Sunday school teacher in a northeast coast community decades ago is suing the Pentecostal Church for damages. The Sunday school teacher was charged and convicted but his name is being withheld to protect the identity of John Doe.

Police say a Sunday school teacher at St. Paul Zion church was robbed by the pastor of that church and his family while teaching her class on Sunday . "Our client feels that nothing was done to protect him while on the other hand, significant efforts were made to assist the perpetrator in

Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland and Labrador's office in St. John's. A man is suing the church in the province for damages related to sexual assault he experienced at the hands of his Sunday school teacher. © Google Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland and Labrador's office in St. John's. A man is suing the church in the province for damages related to sexual assault he experienced at the hands of his Sunday school teacher.

A Newfoundland man who was sexually assaulted by his Sunday school teacher in a northeast coast community decades ago is suing the Pentecostal Church for damages.

The man — now in his 50s — whose identity is protected by a court-ordered publication ban, says the Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland and Labrador failed to protect him as a child and contributed to his life-long suffering.

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Police say a Sunday school teacher at St. Paul Zion church was robbed by the pastor of that church and his family while teaching her class on Sunday . "Our client feels that nothing was done to protect him while on the other hand, significant efforts were made to assist the perpetrator in

The lawyer for the man , now in his 50s, says the church worked harder to protect the abuser than the boys he assaulted .The man — now in his 50s — whose identity is protected by a court-ordered publication ban, says the Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland and Labrador failed to protect

He is being called John Doe in court documents

"It was the Sunday school process that allowed the perpetrator access to our client as a young boy, and because of that we believe the church is responsible," said Geoff Budden, a lawyer with the law firm representing John Doe.

a man wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera: Geoff Budden is a St. John's lawyer representing a man who is suing the Pentecostal Church in Newfoundland and Labrador. © Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Geoff Budden is a St. John's lawyer representing a man who is suing the Pentecostal Church in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The sexual assaults happened over a decade during the 1970s and 1980s. Court documents say John Doe was repeatedly sodomized by his Sunday school teacher in the teacher's home and at the Pentecostal church.

He was also forced to participate in sexual activity with multiple persons, including other minors.

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Pentecostalism or Classical Pentecostalism is a renewal movement within Protestant Christianity that places special emphasis on a direct personal experience of God through baptism with the Holy Spirit. The term Pentecostal is derived from Pentecost , the Greek name for the Jewish Feast of Weeks.

It teaches about the Day of Pentecost where God gave the gift of the Holy Spirit to the early church .Be sure to note the additional resource God spoke to the prophet Joel many years before this day . Remember what our memory verse says the Holy Spirit will do? (He will remind you everything I

The Sunday school teacher was charged and convicted but his name is being withheld to protect the identity of John Doe.

In the course of litigating John Doe's case, letters the church had in the early 1980s have come to light.

"From reading the letters, one would infer that in some point in 1981 it came to the attention of the church that these boys were being sexually abused," said Budden.

'Promise not to lay a charge'

The court documents include three letters written by the Sunday school teacher admitting that he "seduced' and had sex with three separate boys who were his students. In those letters he apologizes to their parents and promises that it won't happen again.

There are also three letters from the parents of those children accepting the apologies and promising they would not go to the police.

a screenshot of text: The parents of three students who say they were sexually assaulted wrote letters accepting the Sunday school's teachers apology. © Mark Quinn/CBC The parents of three students who say they were sexually assaulted wrote letters accepting the Sunday school's teachers apology.

There is also a letter addressed to the Sunday school teacher signed by the local pastor and church board members telling him that he has been removed from duties with the church for a year.

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One of the most important callings in the church is that of our children’s Sunday School teachers . Without the persistent dedication of these men and women every week, providing Sunday School lessons for kids

"We wish to assure you of our prayers and endeavours to rehabilitate you and our readiness to assist you in any way possible to bring this whole ordeal to a victorious climax for you," the letter says.

The local pastor and church board members promised to assist the Sunday school teacher who apologized for sexually assaulting children. © Mark Quinn/CBC The local pastor and church board members promised to assist the Sunday school teacher who apologized for sexually assaulting children.

The church did not report the Sunday school teacher to the police. John Doe is not one of the boys the teacher wrote an apology for. Doe's lawyer says Doe was sexually assaulted by the teacher before and after the apologies were made.

Irresponsible decision

Budden and his client believe the decision to not report the teacher to police was irresponsible and showed more regard for the Sunday school teacher than his victims.

"Our client feels that nothing was done to protect him while on the other hand, significant efforts were made to assist the perpetrator in reintegrating into the church community, which he in fact did," said Budden

"Certainly by the early 1980s enough should have been known to know that that simply wasn't a safe or responsible way of acting."

As part of the suit seeking damages, lawyers are due in court in July to make an application to a judge to give them unedited versions of church's letters.

In the versions John Doe's lawyer now has, the names of victims and their parents are redacted.

Doe's lawyers want to speak with the people named in those letters to learn more about what happened around the time the letters were written.

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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