Victory Christian employees had legal obligation to report rape, attorney says
BY JERRY WOFFORD World Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
10/31/12 at 2:51 PM
The employees of Victory Christian Center who allegedly failed to report a rape for more than two weeks had a legal obligation to do so and an argument to the contrary “flies in the face of both common sense and common decency,” prosecutors said.
That was part of the strong response by Assistant District Attorney Sarah McAmis to a motion to dismiss the misdemeanor charges against John and Charica Daugherty, both youth pastors at Victory Christian Center.
They were charged in September along with three others for failing to report child abuse after they allegedly waited two weeks to tell authorities about a reported rape that occurred at the south Tulsa megachurch in August.
Chris Denman, 20, a former employee at the church, pleaded guilty Monday to six felonies, including counts of first-degree rape, forcible oral sodomy, lewd molestation, making a lewd proposal to a child and two counts of using a computer to facilitate a sex crime. The victims were 12, 13 and 15 and the time the crimes occurred, court records show. His sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 12.
Another former church employee, Israel Shalom Castillo, 23, is charged with making a lewd or indecent proposal to a child and using a computer to facilitate a sex crime.
John and Charica Daugherty, 28 and 27, respectively; Paul Willemstein, 32, associate youth pastor; Anna George, 24, high school outreach program director; and Harold Frank Sullivan, 73, human resources director; all appeared in court Wednesday before Special Judge Sarah Smith to set a date for a motions hearing related to the dismissal. The Daughertys filed their motion last month and the hearing was set for Nov. 19. Willemstein and George are also due to appear that day. A hearing for Sullivan was set for Dec. 12.
Smith will preside over the hearings.
The Daughertys allege in their motion to dismiss the charges, written by their attorney Jason Robertson, that they were not required to report the abuse because Denman and Castillo were not persons “responsible for the health, safety and welfare of the child,” according to the defense’s interpretation of the statute. They also argue that since Denman and Castillo were not charged with “child abuse,” the Daughertys could not be charged with “failure to report child abuse.”
McAmis said in the state’s response that the line of arguments is “disingenuous, sad, and contrary to both the legislative intent and plain language of the law.”
Read more of this story in Thursday's Tulsa World.
Charica Dene Daugherty(Left) and John Samuel Daugherty(center) arrive for a hearing at the Tulsa County Courthouse in the Victory Christian Center failure to report child abuse case Wednesday. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World
Anna George and Paul Willemstein make their way into court for a hearing in the Victory Christian Center failure to report child abuse case at Tulsa County CourthouseS at the Tulsa County Courthouse Wednesday. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World
Harold Sullivan leaves a hearing in the Victory Christian Center failure to report child abuse case at Tulsa County Courthouse Wednesday. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World