Albany church faces $5M suit for 30-year-old sex abuse allegation
An unnamed plaintiff has sued the Albany First Assembly church for alleged sexual abuse suffered between 1984 and 1987. The National Council of the church as well as the Oregon Ministerial District Network are also named as defendants.
Attorney Gilion Dumas said the lawsuit stems from alleged events involving Ralph Wade Gantt and Todd Clark, two men who had worked as leaders with an all-boys’ church group called the Royal Rangers, which is similar to the Boy Scouts.
Gantt and Clark were both convicted of sexual abuse in 1988 in an unrelated case that did not involve the church, and both men served time for their convictions. The suit does not name the men as defendants, but rather argues that the church leadership is culpable under Agency Law, which allows victims of such crimes to sue an organization because it controls the alleged offenders.
“Whether or not they knew about it, they could be held liable,” said Dumas. She further argues that, just as a church group can be praised for good things, so too can they be held accountable for bad things.