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Sunday, July 14, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Parishioner Says Church Played Dirty

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (CN) - A man claims a church pastor and a parishioner falsely accused him of sexually attacking a child inside the church.

Plaintiff James Sherrell III said Pastor Calixto Ulloa and Cuauhtemoc Avila, of Iglesia Bautista Agape Church, made the false accusations in front of the congregation and to police.

Sherrell was arrested, but the charges were dropped, according to the complaint in Madison County Court.

Sherrell claims Ulloa and Avila made the false accusations to retaliate for Sherrell's parents' trying to get information about the church's finances.

"The unlawful acts were committed in furtherance of a common scheme which the defendants contemplated would result in (1) The Sherrell Family withdrawing from the church and thus minimizing the inquiries for regarding the church's finances; (2) The creation of ... the public perception that Avila's son was a victim and not a perpetrator with regard to recent alleged unlawful sexual acts; (3) Simple retaliation against James Sherrell II for actions Mr. Sherrell took which resulted in the eviction of certain tenants who lived in Ulloa's home," the complaint states.

Sherrell seeks punitive damages from Ulloa, Avila, Iglesia Bautista and the Illinois Baptist State Association, for defamation and false arrest. He is represented by John Bitzer of Collinsville.

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