7th Day Adventists Ignored Claims of Teacher’s Sexual Abuse

Douglas AllisonLeaders of the 7th Day Adventists ignored warnings and repeated complaints about one of their own teachers. Now their lack of action has been made public in a civil sexual abuse lawsuit filed against the church on behalf of one of Douglas “John” Allison’s victims.

Allison was arrested last year in Sequim, WA for sexually assaulting two 10-year-olds under his desk in the classroom while the other children were distracted watching movies, according to police reports and the new lawsuit. Allison is now serving a 26-year prison sentence.

The lawsuit filed in Seattle, WA alleges that the church knew about Allison’s criminal behavior as early as 2014 and failed to do anything, including reporting him to law enforcement.

Allison had worked as a Seventh Day Adventist educator in California before moving to Washington State. A document from the Del Norte Department of Health and Human Services in Crescent City, California reads, “The Reporting Party (RP) stated ____’s teacher Doug Allison at Seventh Day Adventist School put his hand down the front of her pants on many occasions.”  It’s unclear what, if any, investigations followed the California complaints.

The civil lawsuit alleges that church leaders in California and Washington also received multiple reports from parents concerns about Allison’s hugging and touching students.

Allison was originally charged with a dozen sex crimes — four counts of first-degree child rape and eight counts of child molestation.

While Allison’s crimes are reprehensible, the church’s lack of regard for the safety and well-being of its young and vulnerable students is incomprehensible.  According to court documents, church leaders were warned on multiple occasions of Allison’s activity and failed to do anything at all to protect children.

During his criminal trial, victims’ family members were provided an opportunity to address the court:

“I was in complete and utter shock and denial that someone I put so much faith, trust, value and admiration in would do such an atrocious and disgusting act to an innocent child,” one mother said in a victim impact statement.

“For someone of Christian faith, in an authoritative position, teaching my and other children what’s right and wrong, guiding them for the future, I felt deceived.

“He had deceived our entire family, built special relationships with every one of us,” she added.

“The more I look back, the more I feel as if he had been grooming our family for his own twisted needs from day one.”

Some of this could have been prevented if the church had acted responsibly and sensibly. The Seventh Day Adventist Church is just as guilty as Allison for the suffering of these children.

 

Dumas Law Group has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, California, and other states.

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