Victims of a local pastor’s sexual abuse are suing the local church and national religious organization they claim are liable for their suffering.
Logan Wesley III was convicted on all counts involving the three women and sentenced to five life sentences plus 220 years by a Bowie county jury in July. The women filed a civil lawsuit against Trinity Temple Church of God in Christ in Texarkana, Arkansas, and the national Church of God in Christ Inc. last week Other defendants in the suit are Logan Wesley’s wife, Cynthia Wesley, and local missionary and “church mother” Barbara Stuckey.
The suit was filed by attorneys David Carter of Texarkana and Neil Smith of Dallas in Miller County circuit court.
The suit alleges that COGIC Inc. is liable for Logan Wesley’s misconduct with the victims because they reported the abuse to other church leaders and at least one pastor of a COGIC church in a different Arkansas city.
“Church of God in Christ (“COGIC”) is a worldwide faith-based organization with congregations in 112 countries and is the self-proclaimed ‘largest Pentecostal denomination in the United States,'” according to the complaint. “Church of God in Christ’s ecclesiastical structure is a hierarchical religious body comprised of four levels: a national church, regional jurisdictions, districts, and local Churches. COGIC, Inc., also referred to as the national church, controls and has authority over all levels of the Church of God in Christ’s ecclesiastical structure.”
Logan Wesley’s wife, Cynthia Wesley, allegedly knew about the sexual abuse and did not report it. According to the complaint, Cynthia Wesley owns a daycare next to her home, Trinity Christian Playschool, and was required by law as a “mandatory reporter” to notify law enforcement.
“Barbara Stuckey was a Missionary, also known as a “church mother” at TTCOG. Church Missionaries must be licensed and/or ordained in the COGIC church and serve as administrative assistants to the clergymen of the church, including local pastors,” according to the complaint. “At least one Plaintiff reported Wesley’s abuse to Barbara Stuckey during the time they were abused. Stuckey told them not to say anything about the abuse or they would burn in hell.”
The plaintiffs are seeking to obtain a judgment for physical and psychological trauma, punitive damages and attorney fees.