First Assembly of God Sex Abuse Lawsuit Filed in Oregon

We filed a lawsuit on behalf of six Oregon men today in Multnomah County against the First Assembly of God of Albany church, and the state and national organizations that operate the church, for the sexual abuse they suffered as children in the 1980s by two youth leaders. Our clients bring this case now, after abuse by these church volunteers was made public in an earlier lawsuit we filed in 2016 by another victim.

The Complaint in the case alleges that Ralph Wade Gantt and Todd Clark were both leaders in the Royal Rangers, an educational and recreational program for boys, similar to Boy Scouts, sponsored by the church. These men, the Complaint alleges, abused their position of leadership, trust, and respect as church leaders and mentors to repeatedly sexually abuse all six of these  boys when they were as young as ten years old.

The Complaint alleges that one of the boys — identified in the case as R.T.  — reported his abuse by Clark to his father in 1984 and his father reported the abuse to First Albany church, but the church did not report Clark to the police or remove him from his position as a Royal Ranger leader. Three of the six men in this case allege claims for abuse by Clark after the church learned of Clark’s alleged abuse of R.T.

Eventually, both Gantt and Clark were convicted in 1988 for child sexual abuse. Gantt was convicted of abuse of R.T., who is one of the Plaintiffs in this lawsuit, and other boys associated with the First Assembly of God church in Albany. Clark was convicted only for abuse of other victims associated with the Royal Rangers at First Assembly.

The six men bringing this lawsuit were identified as Royal Ranger participants and victims of Gantt and Clark during investigations conducted in the case filed in 2016.

Like many states, Oregon has an extended statute of limitations for civil lawsuits for childhood sexual abuse, recognizing that most victims cannot bring claims for many years. As a result of the trauma caused by childhood sexual abuse, very few sexual abuse survivors – especially male survivors – ever report what happened to them. It can be years and even decades before those who do report come forward to do something.

This is not the first time we have sued the Assembly of God church for sexual abuse and we are proud to represent the six courageous men who are seeking justice for the crimes that were committed against them when they were children. We hope their courage will help other men who were sexually abused as boys to come forward to tell their stories and seek help.

Based on Gantt and Clark’s history of sexual activity with minors, it is likely that there may witnesses with relevant information. In addition to volunteering at First Assembly, Clark may have volunteered with other youth organizations in the Albany area, including coaching soccer for the Boys & Girls Club. We want any witnesses or other survivors of abuse to know that, if they come forward, they will be listened to and treated with respect.

 

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

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