Victory Christian Center suspends 3 employees over rape report
BY JARREL WADE World Staff Writer
Saturday, September 15, 2012
9/15/12 at 7:20 AM
Three employees of Victory Christian Center who apparently waited more than two weeks to report allegations of rape have been suspended pending an internal investigation, according to a church statement issued Friday.
The allegation that Victory Christian Center staff failed to report the crime immediately is part of the ongoing criminal investigation that has already netted one arrest with additional charges expected, police said.
Sgt. Brandon Wykoff said Victory Christian officials have fully cooperated with police, producing all requested records and interviews with staff since reporting the alleged crime on Aug. 30.
The church's statement references a written policy that requires any allegations of abuse to be reported internally and to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services within one hour.
"It appears that this policy was not followed by the employees initially involved, and the allegations were not reported as directed within the required time," the statement says.
Jarrod Kopp, a spokesman for Victory Christian whom the World contacted for clarification, said the three employees were suspended for not following the policy exactly as written.
The statement should not necessarily imply that the three employees were the only ones who knew about the allegations for the two weeks before police were notified, Kopp said.
More information may be released next week, he said.
Victory Christian Center is a nonprofit religious organization that includes a church and school with elementary through high school classes.
A search warrant affidavit and charges filed in Tulsa County District Court indicate that two employees are alleged to have had "sexual indiscretions" with as many as three female junior high students.
Chris Denman, a 20-year-old Victory Christian employee who was fired before the police were notified, was arrested Sept. 5 and charged Thursday with felony counts of first-degree rape, forcible sodomy, lewd molestation and use of a computer to facilitate a sex crime, according to court and jail records. Denman's bond is set at $200,000.
According to court records, one of the victims reported the rape to youth leaders on Aug. 15 - about two weeks before police were contacted.
Police allege that Denman sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl in a stairwell near a band room at the facility, at 7700 S. Lewis Ave., before a church service on Aug. 13.
Another employee, who is alleged to have had a "sexual indiscretion" with a 15-year-old girl, has not been arrested or charged, records show.
Police noted that any failure to report an alleged sex crime in a timely fashion makes the investigation more difficult.
"Any kind of physical evidence is potentially gone, especially with that kind of time lapse," Wykoff said.
The Tulsa Police Department's standard "rape kit," which collects valuable evidence from the victim's body, works best within 72 hours of a rape, he said.
"The biggest thing on the timeline is just being able to do interviews, being able to collect evidence like we should and being able to locate possible suspects," Wykoff said, speaking about rape cases in general to avoid talking about the ongoing investigation.
Wykoff said police have conducted interviews with several employees of Victory Christian Center, including Pastor Sharon Daugherty and other administrators.
Original Print Headline: Victory Christian suspends 3 workers
Jarrel Wade 918-581-8367
Victory Christian Center's worship center is located at 7700 S. Lewis Ave. in Tulsa. Tulsa World file