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Methodists Hope to Nix Abusive Priest Claims

DALLAS (CN) - A regional body of the United Methodist Church has called for protective orders in sexual misconduct lawsuits against an allegedly abusive pastor.

Jeffrey Carson, a former church member at St. Luke Community United Methodist Church in Dallas, filed suit eight months ago against St. Luke's, the North Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church and former pastor Tyrone Gordon in county court.

Last month, former St. Luke's employees Anthony Bollin and Christopher Mosley filed similar, separate suits in county court.

All three men allege that Gordon engaged in sexual misconduct and harassment against male employees and parishioners at the church.

The conference filed three motions for protective orders last week, arguing that the claims exceeded the statute of limitations and that the plaintiffs failed to exhaust administrative remedies afforded by the federal Equal Employment & Opportunity Commission and Texas Workforce Commission.

Judge Martin Lowy is considering both of these arguments in a fourth lawsuit against the defendants filed in January by Cameron Greer, the conference says.

"The 101st Judicial District Court's ruling on the conference's dispotive motions in the Greer case will dictate the issues involved in this lawsuit, including the necessity and extent of discovery," the motions state. "Moving forward with discovery in this lawsuit prior to the court's ruling in Greer will waste valuable time, money and resources for all parties involved."

In his complaint, Moseley accuses Gordon of trying to get him drunk during a church trip to New Orleans in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina. He says Gordon made unwanted sexual advances at their hotel during a conversation about Mosley finding a full-time job.

"Defendant Gordon proceeded to show pornographic pictures on his church[-]issued laptop," the complaint states. "At the same time, [defendant] Gordon began rubbing his bare legs against plaintiff Mosley saying what defendant Gordon could do for plaintiff Mosley."

It adds: "Defendant Gordon referred to the pornographic photos saying 'I bet you didn't know your pastor could get down like this.' Defendant Gordon then began to ask plaintiff Mosley what kind of things plaintiff Mosley did when plaintiff Mosley was locked up in the penitentiary."

Mosley allegedly stopped attending worship services after the incident. He said his spirituality and faith have been "permanently damaged" by the abuse.

"Plaintiff Mosley was hurt and angry that this abuse was perpetrated by his senior pastor and secular-based counselor," the complaint states. "There does not seem to be much of a difference in what he experienced in the world and what he experienced in the church."

The motions in the Carson and Bollin cases were authored by Littler Mendelson attorney Michelle Brookshire. The motion in the Mosley suit was authored by Thompson Coe attorney Jennifer Aufricht.


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