Gay-Hating Pastor Accused of Incitement

      SACRAMENTO (CN) — A pastor who lauded the mass murder of 49 people in an Orlando nightclub was sued Tuesday by a gay protester who says the man of God incited his congregation to assault him outside a Sacramento church.
     Spenser Fritz says he was surrounded and assaulted by members of the Verity Baptist Church as they left a sermon by the Rev. Roger Otoniel Jimenez.
     After the mass murders in Orlando, Jimenez praised the killing of “sodomites” in a sermon that immediately went viral. “The tragedy is that more of them didn’t die,” Jimenez said in the sermon, in which he called the murders “great.”
     Fritz says 1,000 people protested outside the Verity Baptist Church on June 19, and that he attended several protests there between that day and July 5, during which parishioners repeatedly threatened him with violence.
     He says police installed video cameras outside the church after the mass protest on June 19, but the cameras were removed on July 5.
     On July 6, he says, as he protested outside the church with about five other people, one parishioner threatened them with a knife and another one with a gun. Another one whispered into a child’s ear and then laughed when the child mimicked shooting him with a gun, Fritz says.
     As the congregation left, Fritz asked them, “Why are you teaching your children violence? …
     “I don’t deserve to die.”
     Defendant Johnny Cervantes III then told him, “Don’t fucking talk to my wife!” and pushed him “with great force,” Fritz says in the lawsuit. Three or four other parishioners surrounded him and he called 911. Police arrived and handcuffed him, saying a parishioner had reported that Fritz was the assailant, which Fritz says is not true.
     Fritz’s attorney Lora Grevious, with Toeppen & Grevious in Sacramento, was not available for comment Thursday.
     After being assaulted, Fritz says, he has been harassed by Verity church members during other peaceful protests.
     He claims Jimenez’s hateful speech motivated the assault. He seeks punitive damages from Cervantes, Jimenez and the church for assault and battery, civil rights violations and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
     Verity Baptist Church did not respond to a request for an interview Thursday.

%d bloggers like this: