A fourth victim has stepped forward claiming abuse at a 17,000-member megachurch in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and police have reported that there might be a fifth. In addition to the two former Victory Christian Center employees who have been arrested for alleged sex crimes involving four different victims, the Tulsa Police Department has reported that a …
A fourth victim has stepped forward claiming abuse at a 17,000-member megachurch in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and police have reported that there might be a fifth. In addition to the two former Victory Christian Center employees who have been arrested for alleged sex crimes involving four different victims, the Tulsa Police Department has reported that a third suspect could face charges related to the alleged sexual abuse of a fifth victim. The allegations of sexual abuse involving children have rocked the foundation of the ministry, and have tarnished the reputations of its pastor, Shannon Daugherty, and her family members. Being charged with child abuse is a serious offense in Oklahoma, and even failing to report abuse can result in a misdemeanor offense under Oklahoma law. If you are facing charges for child abuse or failure to report child abuse in Oklahoma, contact our qualified criminal defense attorneys at Oklahoma Legal Center as soon as possible.
Charges Filed Against Ex-Church Employees
Earlier this week, prosecutors added two additional charges against 20-year-old Chris Denman, a former employee of the Victory Christian Center, who was arrested on September 5 on charges for allegedly raping a 13-year-old girl in a stairwell on the church’s campus, and molesting a 15-year-old girl. Denman now faces charges of using a computer to commit a sex crime involving a 12-year-old girl, and making a lewd proposal to a child. Another former employee of the church, 23-year-old Israel Castillo, was arrested last week and faces charges of using a computer to commit a sex crime and making a lewd proposal to a 15-year-old girl.
Misdemeanor Charges for Failure to Report Child Abuse
On September 26, five employees of the Tulsa church – including Daugherty’s son and daughter-in-law – were arraigned in district court for allegedly waiting two weeks to report Denman’s rape of the 13-year-old girl to authorities. Each of the five employees faces one misdemeanor count of failing to report child abuse in a timely manner. Last Friday, the mother of the 13-year-old girl filed a lawsuit against the church in Tulsa County District Court, seeking $75,000 and claiming that officials attempted to cover up the rape to do “damage control.” A spokesperson for the Victory Christian Center said earlier this week that all five employees have been suspended pending a disciplinary review. The church said in a statement that its employees failed to follow a written policy requiring any allegation of abuse to be reported to the state’s Department of Human Services, and internally to their department head and the director of human resources within one hour of the incident.
Criminal Defense Attorneys for Child Abuse Defense
Oklahoma lawmakers have taken a strong stance against child abuse, and the penalties associated with child abuse or even failure to report child abuse reflect that stance. If you have been arrested for Oklahoma child abuse charges, or if you have been charged with failure to report child abuse in Oklahoma, contact our criminal defense lawyers at Oklahoma Legal Center today. The penalties associated with a child abuse conviction are severe, and even failure to report child abuse in a timely manner can result in a misdemeanor charge in Oklahoma. Our criminal defense team has extensive experience protecting the rights of those accused of Oklahoma sex crimes. With the help of our reputable criminal defense attorneys at Oklahoma Legal Center, you can build a strong defense in your case and possibly get your charges reduced or dismissed altogether.