Class Accuses Theology School of Deception

     RALEIGH, N.C. (CN) – A class action lawsuit claims that a North Carolina for-profit religious school engaged in deceptive business practices by not having proper accreditation.
     Apex School of Theology Inc. (ASOT) was founded in Raleigh in 1995 and, according to its website and promotional materials, offers “theological degrees 100 percent online.”
     Lead plaintiffs Kevin and Audra Henry claim that ASOT was “suppressing and withholding from the plaintiffs and from consumers information regarding ASOT’s lack of proper accreditation.”
     ASOT’s lack of accreditation has led to students not being eligible to obtain professional licensure, according to the complaint. The Henrys say that ASOT took thousands of dollars from them and other students under false pretenses.
     “ASOT is not a regionally accredited school under the professional licensing laws of the State of North Carolina, particularly the laws applicable to eligibility to apply for licensure as a licensed professional counselor or a licensed married and family therapist in North Carolina,” the Jan. 25 complaint states.
     The Henrys claim the school falsely represented that its Master of Arts in Christian Counseling program was properly accredited in the field of professional counseling.
     The class action alleges unfair and deceptive business practices, infliction of emotional distress, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud. The lawsuit states the aggregate damages “are likely to be in the millions of dollars.”
     The class says that the school, its board of trustees, and certain professors and staff members are accountable for the alleged misrepresentations.
     Named defendants include Joseph Perkins, Percy High, William Daye, Wesley Elam, William Richardson, Mark Royster, Frank Byrd, Clarence Rogers, James Layton, Jason Keith, Clarice Atwater, Percy Chase, Dorothy Hicks, Herbert Davis, Grover Hall, and John Bradshaw.
     Robert Lewis, Jr. in Raleigh represents the class. He could not be reached for comment due to travel plans.
     Defendant Davis, executive vice president of ASOT, did not immediately return a request for comment.

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