TULSA (CN) – Parents of an alleged victim of sexual abuse say Grace Fellowship Christian School hid millions of dollars in assets to try to duck judgment during the criminal trial of a teacher who was charged with sexually molesting young students.
Aaron Thompson, a teacher with Grace Fellowship, was charged in 2002 with lewd molestation of his young male students, according to the complaint in Tulsa County Court.
The parents of one alleged victim say the school delayed reporting Thompson’s abuses, and after the teacher was charged, “transferred assets amongst themselves, and to third parties … and renegotiated financial commitments with the intent to protect themselves from the claims of the plaintiffs and other victims.”
Among the transferred assets were a $7.5 million mortgage on the church school and land, according to the complaint.
The parents say the school failed to act despite receiving a multitude of complaints over a span of several years, and that when Thompson was charged with lewd molestation, it hid assets in one of its own companies, Grace Fellowship Title Holding Corp., and with other third parties.
The school hired Thompson as a P.E. teacher in 1996. The parents say Thompson abused his position for years to “‘special’ relationships with certain young boys,” including their son. They say Thompson’s abuse included “stalking, touching, fondling, molestation, sexual assault, mutual masturbation, and other sexual acts.”
They seek punitive damages for negligence, intentional or reckless infliction of emotional distress, and fraudulent conveyance.
Grace Fellowship Inc. does business under a variety of names, including Bob Yandian Ministries Inc., The Word Shoppe, The School of the Local Church, and Real Answers Bookstore, according to the complaint. Bob Yandian and other church and school officials are also named as defendants. The private K-12 school in Tulsa hired teachers who were “members and ordained ministers of the church,” according to the complaint.
The parents are represented by James Dunham.