Judge rules against Victory Christian ministers
BY JARREL WADE World Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
11/20/12 at 7:16 AM
Read the first motion to dismiss the Daughertys’ charges.
A judge denied two motions to dismiss charges of failure to report child abuse against two Victory Christian Center youth ministers Monday.
In denying the motions, Tulsa County Special Judge Sarah Smith said the intent of the statute is to prevent child abuse and that it does apply to the case.
The case involves allegations made by a 13-year-old girl to church officials that she was raped by a former employee of the church. About two weeks lapsed before police were notified of the allegations.
The motions to dismiss were filed by Tulsa attorney Jason Robertson on behalf of John Daugherty, 28, and Charica Daugherty, 27, the son and daughter-in-law of Victory Christian Senior Pastor Sharon Daugherty. Three other church employees also face the same charge.
The motions on behalf of the Daughertys argued that the definition of abuse and sexual abuse in Oklahoma statutes legally do not require the defendants to report the crime.
"We were happy with the ruling," said Kali Strain, a Tulsa County prosecutor and spokeswoman for the Tulsa County District Attorney's Office. "The law is in place to protect children."
"We're disappointed," Robertson said, but "we're not filing any more motions to dismiss. ... If we have to go to jury trial, we go to jury trial."
Robertson began Monday's hearing to address his motions by asking the judge to look only at the letter of the law.
"I'm going to ask the court to do one simple thing: that is to follow the law," he said.
Robertson said the definition of abuse in the failure to report child abuse statute applies only to people who are responsible for the well-being of the child - which he argues that John and Charica Daugherty were not.
Former church employee Chris Denman, 20, pleaded guilty Oct. 29 to six felony sex crimes against children, including the rape of the 13-year-old. The charges also involve two other girls, ages 15 and 12.
He has been jailed since Sept. 5 on charges of first-degree rape of a child, forcible oral sodomy of a child, lewd molestation, lewd proposal to a child and two counts of using a computer to facilitate a sex crime, court records show.
Denman is awaiting sentencing and has no plea deal with prosecutors, records indicate.
Another former 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. Those charges involve a fourth alleged victim at the church, a 15-year-old girl.
Castillo's preliminary hearing was postponed last month after prosecutors said they are investigating a possible second victim in his case.
In the failure-to-report-child-abuse case, the judge set the next hearing for Dec. 12, when all five church employees charged are scheduled to appear.
In addition to John and Charica Daugherty, who are Victory Christian Center's senior high youth pastor and assistant senior high youth pastor, respectively, staff members charged in the case are Paul Howard Willemstein, 32, associate youth pastor; Anna Alisa George, 24, high school outreach program director; and Harold Frank Sullivan, 73, former human resources director.
Original Print Headline: Judge rules against Victory ministers
Jarrel Wade 918-581-8367
John and Charica Daugherty, both youth ministers at Victory Christian Center, leave a Tulsa County courtroom after an appearance at a hearing on Monday. A judge denied the couple's motion to dismiss the charges against them of failure to report child abuse. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World