AUBURN, Calif. (CN) – Church leaders knew their youth pastor, an adult, was sexually molesting a 14-year-old girl, but refused to stop it, or to tell police or the girl’s parents, the family claims in Placer County Court. The family says Jeffrey Waisner sexually abused the girl “regularly” since she was 14, at Rocklin Foursquare Church, at his home and on trips. The church is also known as Crossroads Community Church, and the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.
The family says Waisner engaged in intercourse and oral sex with the girl, who is now 15.
The family accuses the church of “harboring predator pedophiles” who “would continue to sexually molest children, using their leadership positions to gain access to and control over their victims.”
The church touted its youth group meetings as “a safe place for your teens,” and though it knew it had a “problem with sexual abuse of minors by appointed leaders,” it “acted to continue to appoint these sexual offenders to positions of authority with the opportunity to abuse children,” the family claims.
“Rather than implement measures to redress and prevent the sexual molestation of these children,” the church “engaged in a systematic pattern and practice of suppression of information to cover up and hide incidents of child molestation from law enforcement and their membership in order to protect the defendant’s reputation as well as those within the defendant’s organization who committed acts of sexual molestation against children,” according to the 13-page complaint.
The family says the church maintains “secret archival files regarding sexual abuse by leaders in the organization,” but did not disclose their existence or contents to police. Nor does the church report complaints of sexual misconduct, as required by law; nor does it “remove molesting leaders or prevent their access to children,” the family says.
“Known molesting leaders were reaffirmed as leaders in good standing in the organization and were given authority that permitted continued frequent and unsupervised access to children in the organization,” the complaint states.
The family says the church “prohibited” victims “from warning others or speaking about the matter to anyone,” through threats of “severe sanctions.”
The family seeks punitive damages for medical care, lost earnings, sexual abuse of a child, sexual battery, gross negligence and breach of fiduciary duty.
They are represented by Garland Bell of Granite Bay, Calif.