Judge denies motion to dismiss civil suit against Victory Christian Center
BY JARREL WADE World Staff Writer
Monday, January 07, 2013
1/07/13 at 2:21 PM
A judge denied Victory Christian's motion to dismiss a civil case against the megachurch on Monday, moving the lawsuit on behalf of a 13-year-old rape victim closer to trial.
The lawsuit, filed in Tulsa County District Court in September, claims the church intentionally inflicted emotional distress by not reporting the alleged crime to police or the victim's parents for about two weeks after learning of the assault.
Tulsa County District Judge Rebecca Nightingale heard arguments from both parties before denying the motion to dismiss on all points except for accusations that Victory Christian Center was vicariously responsible for the criminal conduct of their employee.
The mother of the victim is identified as the plaintiff in the lawsuit. It is the Tulsa World's policy not to identify the victim of an alleged sexual assault.
Chris Denman, 20, pleaded guilty to charges 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.
Another Tulsa County District Judge sentenced Denman last month to 55 years in prison and five years of probation in the case.
"We're anxious to move forward with discovery," plaintiff attorney Michael Atkinson said.
Five Victory Christian Center staff members, including Senior Pastor Sharon Daugherty's son and daughter-in-law, were suspended from employment after being charged with failing to report child abuse.
They have pleaded not guilty in their criminal case, and all five employees have returned to work at the church.
Read Tuesday's Tulsa World for more on this story.
Victory Christian Center back in September. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World File