“I remember just him, like, taking me to the bathroom,” says a 17-year-old victim. She remembers how she was molested repeatedly when she was three years old by a 15-year-old babysitter. Both were members at the time of Sovereign Grace in Fairfax, but when her parents confronted the church pastors, they were told not to speak about it.
“We were told that we should not talk to any church member about it. Do not tell anyone,” she says.
Charges that churches within Sovereign Grace Ministries turned a deaf ear to child sex abuse committed by church members are laid out in a class action lawsuit. Three female plaintiffs detail repeated abuse in the 1980’s and 90’s ,but say the church covered up child molestation, worked with sexual predators to mislead enforcement and even blamed the victims.
“We received a few letters in the mail saying we were required to come back and reconcile and we needed to ask the perpetrator’s mother for forgiveness, for upsetting and embarrassing her,” she says.
Two other plaintiffs belonged to Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, one now a 22-year-old college student allegedly abused at age two. The other woman’s sister was allegedly abused by her stepfather, the lead pastor.
Joshua Harris is the son-in-law of Sovereign Grace founder CJ Mahaney. He says the church has never tried to cover up abuse.
JA Note: As of right now, the article at the news website and the tv interview mentions Josh Harris is JC Mahaney’s son-in-law. That is incorrect. CJ mentored Josh, but they are not related.