Hearing Postponed For Tulsa's Victory Christian Church Employees

Wednesday, October 31st 2012, 12:55 pm
By: News On 6

A court hearing for five employees of Tulsa's Victory Christian Center has been postponed until mid-November.

John Daugherty, Charica Daugherty, Paul Willemstein, Anna George and Harold "Frank" Sullivan are charged with not reporting allegations of abuse in a timely manner.

The attorneys for the Daughertys, Willemstein and George told the judge the charge, which is a misdemeanor, should be dropped.

The judge in the case set a new hearing date of November 19.

Attorneys for the four argue they didn't have to report it, because it wasn't considered abuse under the law. They argue the abusers weren't responsible for the care of the girls, but mere employees.

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

The DA said that is not the law, not the intention of the law, and that argument goes against common sense and common decency.

A 13-year-old girl, who was a member of the Victory youth group and had attended the church's summer camp, "Word Explosion," accused camp leader Chris Denman of pushing her against a wall, taking off her clothes and raping her.

Police say Denman admitted knowing she was underage, but said young girls were easy, because they didn't know how to say no.

Police say, two days later, the girl told two youth leaders about the attack, and those leaders told assistant pastors Paul Willemstein and Anna George.

Records show, two days after that, a 15-year-old girl told Willemstein and George that Denman tried to kiss her.

Then, five days later, youth pastor Charica Daugherty was shown sexually explicit Facebook messages between another youth leader, Israel Castillo, and a 14-year-old girl.

They say, two days after that, Denman and Castillo were called in to meet with the human resources director, Sullivan, and facilities director Steve Worley. They say Denman confessed to the rape and Castillo admitted to the Facebook messages.

Records state Denman and Castillo were fired and told they could only return to campus for church services. Castillo was told to go back to Texas and start a new life.

Castillo says Worley said he wished it could all be covered up, but it probably couldn't be.

Records show, 15 days after learning of the attack, staff called police.

The four who want the charge dropped argue they weren't obligated to report the abuse, because it wasn't committed by someone who is a caretaker to the victims.

The DA says every adult working for or volunteering at the church is a temporary guardian to kids attending and is responsible for them.

The DA says the staff was legally obligated to make a report, the minute they had reason to believe abuse had occurred.

Prosecutors say the argument the staff makes means if a girl was raped by a stranger in the church or parking lot, and she reported it to church leaders, they wouldn't have to call police.

They say that reasoning is similar to the Catholic Church transferring abusive priests, rather than notifying police or to Penn State restricting the football coach, instead of letting cops handle it or even Boy Scouts maintaining private files of abuse.

Both sides will argue their side in front of a judge on November 19.

Harold Sullivan, the only one of the five who didn't join in the request to dismiss, goes to court in December.

Read the motion to dismiss charges filed on behalf of John and Charica Daugherty