Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Monday, June 17, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Man Tells of Honeymoon From Hell

SAN DIEGO (CN) - A Sunday school teacher for a Southern California church celebrated his honeymoon by sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy whose mother he had just married, the boy, now a man, claims in court.

John Roe sued Journey Community Church, of La Mesa, and Michael Allan Smith, on Feb. 18 in Superior Court.

Roe claims that Smith forced him to give him oral sex and gave him methamphetamines when he was 13 years old, after "grooming" him for several years.

Smith began as a church usher and was eventually appointed to lead "Celebrate Recovery," a church recovery program, despite previous warnings about his sexual misconduct, Roe says in the complaint.

Roe claims that before joining Journey Community Church, Smith belonged to nonparty) Living Hope Christian Fellowship, at which time he was charged with oral copulation with a minor. Roe says in the complaint that he does not know whether this charge, in Orange County, resulted in a conviction. But he says that Journey Community Church was warned about it.

Oral sex and drug use at age 13 escalated into anal sex when he was 15, Roe says in the lawsuit.

He says his mother became suspicious after Smith gave him gifts, and after she caught them cuddling. "Smith explained it away on the basis of having lost his own son," according to the complaint.

Roe says he finally confronted his mother when he was 18 years, and Smith was arrested and prosecuted.

Smith, who was tried in Shasta County, was sentenced to 1½ years as a sexual offender, according to the complaint.

Roe says he suffers from PTSD and drug-induced schizophrenia as a result of the abuse.

He seeks punitive damages for childhood sexual abuse, negligence, negligent supervision, hiring and retention, fraud, failure to warn, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

He is represented by James Byrnes.

Categories / Uncategorized

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.