The Village Church, a Southern Baptist megachurch, has been sued by a woman alleging that she was sexually abused as an 11-year-old while attending church camp, Baptist News Global reports. She says that a children’s pastor for the church sexually assaulted her inside a cabin at Mt. Lebanon Baptist Camp in Cedar Hill, Texas, BNG reports.
Any other victims should contact us about The Village Church lawsuit investigation.
Lawsuit Accuses Village Church Pastor of Sexual Abuse
The lawsuit accuses a youth pastor, Matthew Tonne, of sexually molesting the plaintiff when she was 11 years old at a camp hosted by The Village Church, according to BNG.
The girl kept the sexual assault secret for six years, BNG reports. While undergoing psychological treatment for severe depression and anorexia, she revealed the assault for the first time to her parents, reports BNG. Her parents reported the sexual abuse to police the very next day, according to BNG.
About a month later, after the victim’s mother accidentally cc’ed a church official on an email exchange with a police detective, The Village Church announced to its members that Pastor Tonne had been removed from his position for “alcohol-related reasons,” according to BNG. Even though the Church knew about the abuse allegations, church leadership “made the conscious decision not to share that with the church body, but instead communicated his removal solely for alcohol-related reasons,” according to the lawsuit.
BNG reports that the girl’s mother said in an interview that:
church leaders refused to accept responsibility or apologize for her daughter’s attack and seemed more interested in protecting the institution than seeking the truth.