(CN) – A church pastor beat the hell out of a student when he complained that the church’s home-school high school diploma program was not accredited as advertised, the student says in the Cleveland Court of Common Pleas. The man claims that Community of Faith Church pastor Jeffrey Sanders threatened him with a stick, cussed him out, punched him and “slammed him into a table four times” after he had paid good money to get his diploma.
Freeman Mitchell says that in September 2008 he paid the church and its pastor an $80 application deposit to enroll in its home school program. Mitchell says he immediately paid another $30 for a math test to take at home.
Mitchell says the holy man never called him about the results of his math test, and when he called to inquire, Sanders told him that he had failed and needed to retake it.
Mitchell calls that grade, and others, “fake flunks,” and says he “sometimes had to take the same test three times,” at $30 a pop. He says “the same scenario” was repeated, also at $30 per “fake flunk,” in tests in “English, Health, Physical Education, Science, Social Studies and Electives”.
Mitchell says he eventually graduated from the church’s home school program and was awarded a purported high school diploma. But when he presented it to ITT Technical Institute, he was told the diploma was not from an accredited program.
Mitchell says he went to the church to confront Sanders, and brought along a TV news crew, who waited outside.
He claims that inside Sanders’ office the pastor yelled, “Motherfucker, didn’t I tell you I stayed accredited,” and pulled a stick out of his drawer. He says Sanders told him to “get the fuck out of my office,” and tried to drag him out by his shirt.
Mitchell says he grabbed onto a file cabinet to keep his balance, and Sanders punched him in the chest and then “slammed him into a table four times causing the table to break in half.”
Mitchell says a woman in the church office called the police using his cell phone, and he escaped and told the news crew what had happened.
To cap it off, Mitchell says, when police arrived they arrested him on bogus charges of assault, put him in jail for two days and refused him medical care.
He says the cops eventually took him to a hospital, saying, “We don’t want to have anything to do with you.”
Mitchell seeks at least $25,000 in damages from Community of Faith Church and Sanders for assault, battery, fraud, emotional distress and false imprisonment.
He is represented by Nate Malek.
The Community of Faith Church is in Cleveland.