The Zalkin Law Firm Files Civil Lawsuit Against The Assembly of God Church

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Childhood Victim Allegedly Suffered Sexual Abuse From A Church Leader at the Lancaster, CA Congregation

“This lawsuit will argue that the Assembly of God local congregation and the national organization failed in their legal duty to protect children in their care from a sexual predator even when they were aware of his actions” Alex Zalkin

The Zalkin Law Firm has announced the filing of a childhood sexual abuse civil lawsuit today on behalf of a victim of alleged childhood sexual abuse at an Assembly of God church in Lancaster, CA. The lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the Plaintiff, Leonor Vasquez, who was a minor at the time of the sexual abuse alleged in the complaint. The complaint was filed this morning in the Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. MC 25512.

The civil complaint identifies four Defendants; the Assembly of God Pentecostal Church in Lancaster, California, the national organization, the General Council of the Assemblies of God located in Springfield, MO, and several John Doe defendants, two who the firm identified as agents of the church, Michael Walsh, the alleged perpetrator, and his wife, Sharon Walsh. According to the civil complaint, the Plaintiff began attending the Assembly of God Church in Lancaster in 1995 at the age of 13 and she participated in services, youth events and stayed at a church camp. During this time, she allegedly met the defendants Michael and Sharon Walsh on a church mission trip to Mexico.

According to the complaint, in 1998 when the Plaintiff’s mother left the country, Leonor was left in the care of the Walsh’s based on their involvement with the church. The complaint then alleges that Michael Walsh sexually abused and molested the plaintiff on multiple occasions from 1998 to 2001, when the Plaintiff was 16 to 18 years old and was living with the Walshs. According to the complaint, the Walshs acted as youth group leaders for the Church and also facilitated other church activities, including Bible study and chaperoned other events.

The complaint also alleges that Defendant Sharon Walsh and another church employee were informed of the sexual abuse and that they failed to report the abuse to law enforcement or take any other actions to prevent future acts or to protect the Plaintiff. The complaint further details a meeting with the Plaintiff after she moved out of Defendant Walsh’s home in 2001 where the Pastor of the Church allegedly indicated that Michael Walsh had admitted to the sexual molestation of the Plaintiff. The complaint alleges that even after this meeting, the Church did not report the abuse to law enforcement.

“This lawsuit will argue that the Assembly of God local congregation and the national organization failed in their legal duty to protect children in their care from a sexual predator even when they were aware of his actions.” said Alex Zalkin, attorney for the Plaintiff.

Eight causes of action against the defendants are detailed in the civil complaint; Negligence, Negligent Supervision/Failure to Warn, Negligent Hiring/Retention, Negligent Failure to Warn, Train or Educate the Plaintiff, Battery, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Breach of Statutory Duty and Gender Violence. The complaint alleges that the Church Defendants had a duty to control the Defendant Michael Walsh and to prevent him from sexually molesting children and that the Defendants had a special duty to investigate and not employ Defendant Michael Walsh in his position as a youth group leader and chaperone since they were allegedly aware that Defendant Michael Walsh was likely to harm children entrusted to him.

The complaint asks for damages, punitive damages and costs based on the Plaintiff’s alleged physical injury, shock, emotional distress, physical manifestations of emotional distress, embarrassment, loss of self-esteem, disgrace, humiliation, and loss of enjoyment of life that has prevented and will continue to be prevent her from performing normal daily activities and for the resulting loss of earnings and earning capacity; and expenses for medical and psychological treatment, therapy, and counseling.

About The Zalkin Law Firm
With offices in San Diego, CA, the firm's lawyers have represented hundreds of survivors of childhood sexual abuse and achieved groundbreaking results in numerous high-profile clergy abuse cases across the United States. The Zalkin Law Firm has aggressively represented survivors who suffered child sexual abuse and sexual assault while members of religious and other organizations, including the Catholic Church, foster care, Boy Scouts, recovery homes, foreign student exchange programs, colleges and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The firm has negotiated over $200 million in settlements for victims in Catholic clergy sex abuse cases.

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Irwin Zalkin

Bernie Rhinerson
Rhinerson Communications
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