by Adam Horowitz
In a lawsuit filed today in Jackson, Tennessee, our law firm brought a child sexual abuse lawsuit against The First Baptist Church of Bemis, Tennessee claiming that a 10-year-old girl (JANE DOE) was sexually abused by church volunteer Chad Eugene Lutrell during vacation bible school. Chad Lutrell was convicted of sexual battery and is now a registed sex offender in Tennessee.
According to the Complaint:
- CHAD LUTRELL was a member of THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF BEMIS who created problems for the church due to sexual misconduct with its members. Among other acts, LUTRELL was observed in the church kissing young girls ages 6 to 10 on the mouth. Additionally in 2006, three adult women from the church feared for their safety after being stalked, physically threatened, and sexually harassed on separate occasions by CHAD LUTRELL in Jackson, Tennessee. These sexual advances, stalking, sexual harassment, and physical threats were reported to PASTOR MARK MCSWAIN, who felt LUTRELL’s misconduct was serious enough to report to the Jackson Police Department (Case No. 06-026738).
- Despite LUTRELL’s history, FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH and PASTOR MCSWAIN allowed CHAD LUTRELL in June 2009 to volunteer working with the kids enrolled at its vacation bible school. The vacation bible school was part of the church’s youth ministry, including girls between ages 6 and 10.
- In summer 2009, JANE DOE’s mother enrolled her 10-year-old daughter JANE DOE in vacation bible school. She did not know of CHAD LUTRELL’s history of sexual misconduct. LUTRELL seized the opportunity to molest JANE DOE while alone with her in vacation bible school, including getting on top of her and groping her breast area.
- CHAD LUTRELL pled guilty to sexual battery of JANE DOE and was required to register as a sex offender. He resides in Jackson according to public records. He was also arrested in 2013 for stalking adult women in Jackson, Tennessee.
Adam Horowitz, attorney for the victim Jane Doe, stated, “Churches must make safe choices when selecting who can be around children during youth activities. In this case, First Baptist Church of Bemis made a terrible decision in allowing Chad Lutrell to volunteer at a vacation bible school for kids. This tragedy could have been avoided if the church made a safer choice.”
Our attorneys have extensive experience handling child abuse cases in which the abuse occurs in a church, including sexual abuse by clergymen of many religious denominations. If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse while by someone affiliated with a church or religious organizations, contact our law firm at 1-855-700-PATH or send an email to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at [email protected]. Our law office handles sexual abuse cases nationwide.