HOUSTON (CN) - A church's director of education sexually assaulted 7-year-old twin girls by taking them from the church daycare to his office, and luring them into his "secret closet" with candy, the twins' parents claim in Harris County Court.
Strawbridge United Methodist Church's director of education Jerry Ralph Randolph denied wrongdoing, but admitted spending time alone with the girls when the mother asked the senior pastor to speak with him about her concerns, according to the complaint.
"The senior pastor ultimately told the twins' mother that he had formed an opinion that nothing happened," the complaint states. "He advised Randolph that he should not be in a room with a young child by himself."
But when one of the twins made a sexually explicit remark to her sister and their mom asked her where she had heard such words, the girl replied "Mr. Ralph," the mom says.
"Upon further investigation, the mother learned from the church nursery caregiver that Randolph had been going into the nursery where the twins were kept during the day and taking them - one at a time - to his office," the complaint states. "The twins returned from Randolph's office with candy and gum."
When the mother confronted the church's new senior pastor with allegations that Randolph had molested her daughters, rather than take immediate action he told her to "reflect on things" and get back to him, she says.
Eventually, church officials realized the problem would not go away and asked Randolph to take a leave of absence, the mother says. "It was later determined that the twins were repeatedly sexually assaulted by Randolph in his church office," the complaint states.
The mom and the twins, now 12 years old, demand punitive damages for negligence from Strawbridge United Methodist Church. The complaint does not state what, if anything, happened to Randolph. The twins are represented by Rusty Hardin.