$2.5 Million Settlement Reached with Seacoast Grace Church for Enabling Sexual Abuse by Youth Pastor
Orange County, California – Greenberg Gross Partner Brian Williams announced a $2.5 million settlement with Seacoast Grace Church in Cypress, California. The church was charged for enabling repeated sexual abuse against three underage girls. The abuse took place at the hands of then-Youth Pastor, Kenneth McCall. Three women, Julie Lusk, Denise Dial, and Jane Doe, had bravely filed lawsuits for systemic sexual abuse they each suffered between 1976 and 1983.
In each case, McCall exploited his position of trust and as a result, disregarded his spiritual obligations to these young girls. The abuse began when they were only 12 years old. Despite multiple complaints, the abuse continued for years. Church leaders ignored, forgave and allowed McCall’s abuse to continue due to concern for the reputation of the church and worries that the accusations would divide the congregations. All three victims suffered life-long trauma, including PTSD. The plaintiffs showed tremendous courage in bringing their cases forward.
The new California law gave these women the chance to finally be heard and achieve some measure of justice. The California Law allows victims of childhood sexual assault to take legal action against their perpetrator, or a person or entity who owed them a duty of care, regardless of when the actual assault occurred. However, any lawsuit must be filed by December 31, 2022.
“The window created by AB 218 is a remarkable tool for survivors of childhood sexual assault. It provides survivors with the power to be heard, and an opportunity to seek justice. This particular lawsuit is a perfect example of these benefits, and I could not be more proud of these women for having the courage to come forward.” Attorney Williams stated.
Linked and Related News Coverage:
- Decades after they were sexually abused, new law helps three women fight back
April 29, 2022 | Orange County Register
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