Tulsa Judge Sentences Ex-Victory Christian Center Worker To 55 Years

Wednesday, December 12th 2012, 11:58 am
By: News On 6

A former janitor at Tulsa's Victory Christian Center was sentenced Wednesday to 55 years in prison after pleading guilty to raping a 13-year-old girl in the church's stairwell.

Chris Denman, 19, pleaded guilty in October to sex crimes against three girls -- ages 12, 13 and 15 -- first-degree rape, forcible oral sodomy of a child, lewd molestation, making a lewd proposal to a child and using a computer to facilitate a sex crime.

The crimes took place this summer.

Victory Christian Center is a worldwide ministry located in south Tulsa and has 17,000 members.

10/29/2012 Related Story: Former Victory Christian Center Employee Pleads Guilty To Rape

At Wednesday's hearing, Denman was also handed five years of probation and a $12,000 fine.

He did not have a plea agreement with prosecutors and was facing up to life in prison.

"Although he chose to plead guilty he has never expressed any remorse, he has never expressed any sorrow for his victims, and his only concern seems to be for himself," said prosecutor Sarah McAmis.

Prosecutors say he used his position to coerce the girls, telling one how he recently became saved and wanted the girl to pray with him and then he raped her.

"It's very incredibly sad how he took what should be one of the most precious and sacred things in life and he twisted it and warped it and used it for his own sexual pleasure," McAmis said.

Prosecutors read a letter to the court from one of the victim's parents.

The mother says her daughter has lost her freedom and security and said that went from being an honor student to barely passing.

Denman apologized to the judge and quoted from the Bible saying that no one is perfect.

The prosecutor said the victims are still recovering both physically and emotionally, but the families are pleased with the five-decade sentence.

"He is not a man who ever should be within our society again and his punishment fits his crimes," McAmis said.

Oklahoma state law requires a defendant to serve 85 percent of a sentence. In Denman's case, he must serve 51 years in prison before becoming eligible for parole.

9/20/2012 Related Story: Second Victory Christian Sex Abuse Suspect Surrenders To Tulsa Police

Another former janitor, Israel Castillo, 23, has been charged with lewd or indecent proposal to a child and use of a computer to facilitate a sex crime. His next court appearance is January 22.

Denman's arrest sparked an investigation into the ministry's handling of the allegations. Five ministry workers, including the son of the megachurch's pastor, Sharon Daugherty, have also been charged in relation to the case. According to investigators, Denman's 13-year-old victim told employees about the rape, but they were determined to have waited two weeks to report the claim to parents or police.

9/17/2012 Related Story: Charges Filed Against Victory Christian Employees Amid Sex Abuse Investigation

Charica Dene Daugherty, 27; John Samuel Daugherty, 28; Anna George, 24; Harold F. Sullivan, 73; and Paul Wilemstein, 33, were all charged with misdemeanor failure to report child abuse and were suspended by Victory Christian.

In November, a judge refused to dismiss the misdemeanor charges against the current employees. They are all due back in court mid-January.

Their attorney filed a motion in October, which stated the law only requires one to report abuse if it's committed by someone responsible for the safety and welfare of the victim. An attorney for the workers said since the two men charged weren't responsible for the girls, there was no obligation to report it.

10/12/2012 Related Story: Attorney: Victory Christian Youth Pastors Were Not Obligated To Report Abuse