Morgan & Morgan Files Child Sexual Assault Lawsuit Against Fellowship Bible Church

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Morgan & Morgan, along with Hollins, Raybin & Weissman, filed a lawsuit yesterday against Fellowship Bible Church for the negligent failure to provide a safe environment for a child, who was sexually assaulted by a male teen church-childcare volunteer.

Kathryn E. Barnett Image

Kathryn E. Barnett

We want justice for this family and we hope to raise awareness about child safety – not just at this church but at all churches and childcare facilities.

A Williamson County family filed a lawsuit* yesterday against Fellowship Bible Church of Brentwood, TN. The complaint states that the church was negligent in providing a safe environment for a child in its care and failure to respond adequately to allegations of impropriety under its watch.

The complaint details that on August 24, 2014, the family went to worship at the church and left their three-year-old son at the Children’s Ministry for care. The church assumed sole and exclusive care for the son during the church service. While in the care of the church, the boy was sexually assaulted in a bathroom by a male teenage worker selected by the Church to watch the children. The perpetrator has pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual battery.

The complaint also discloses that the parents were long-time members of Fellowship Bible Church, and were actively involved in church life. The mother of the victim had volunteered there many times. The parents had done their premarital counseling at the church and were baptized and married there. Their children were also dedicated at the church.

According to the lawsuit, when the parents found out about the sexual assault, the church allegedly took no steps to ensure that the perpetrator was prevented from attending services where the family would be present. Instead, the church urged the family to not pursue charges, and asked them to attend another church campus.

“We want justice for this family and we hope to raise awareness about child safety – not just at this church but at all churches and childcare facilities.” said Kathryn Barnett, managing partner of the Nashville office of Morgan & Morgan. “What happened to this family should never happen to anyone else. Churches and others who care for children can’t ignore the very real but very preventable risk of child molestation and sexual abuse by turning a blind eye and assuming it can’t happen to them.”

According to the complaint filed, Morgan & Morgan and Hollins, Raybin and Weissman are pursing the lawsuit* against the church for its alleged negligence in failing to ensure adequate screening and supervision for all staff and volunteers and for failing to install adequate security measures in its classrooms. The lawsuit explains that the classrooms in the Church Youth Ministry building did not have locks to prevent predators from entering empty classrooms. There were no windows or partial doors to prevent nefarious activity in the bathrooms. The facilities also lacked surveillance cameras, sharply reducing the likelihood of a predator’s activities being discovered.

Moreover, the lawsuit states that the training provided by the church to its childcare volunteers focuses almost entirely on trivial issues like finding substitutes, skirt lengths, snacks, and timeliness. Less than one minute of the training video for all volunteers touched on the essential issue of protecting and safeguarding the children entrusted to the church from sexual molestation. The lawsuit requests relief in the form of compensatory and punitive damages.

*John and Jane Doe, individually, and on behalf of their minor children Johnny and Janie Doe, v. Fellowship Bible Church of Williamson County., Case No. 2015-538, in the Circuit Court for Williamson County, Tennessee.

About Morgan & Morgan
Morgan & Morgan is one of the largest exclusively plaintiffs’ law firms in the US, with 25 offices throughout Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and New York. The firm handles cases nationally involving discrimination, personal injury, medical malpractice, consumer class action, and securities fraud—as well as complex litigation against drug and medical device manufacturers.

For further press inquiries contact:

Kathryn Barnett –
Morgan & Morgan- Nashville, PLLC
810 Broadway, Suite 105
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 490-0943

David J. Weissman-

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Kathryn Barnett
since: 12/2010
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Morgan and Morgan - Memphis
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