Tulsa’s Victory Christian Center is a mega-church icon in the city. On August 30th, 2012, police were notified that a 13-year-old girl had been raped in the Center’s facility two weeks earlier. The mother of the girl was also not notified for two weeks. The short story is, church senior youth ministers John and Charica Daugherty, son and daughter-in-law of Senior Pastor Sharon Daugherty, have received a 5-year-deferred sentence. Not reporting the rape was simply a misdemeanor. As it turns out, there is more than one rape under investigation. Victory Center, as well as a church is a school for Kindergarten through 12th grade. (Comments in brackets [ ] below are mine as well as bold text emphasis).
Former church employee Chris Denman, 20, pleaded guilty Oct. 29 to six felony sex crimes against children, including the rape of the 13-year-old. The charges also involve two other girls, ages 15 and 12. [Denman attended church at Victory, worked as a janitor there and was an intern at Camp Victory, the church’s summer camp.]
He has been jailed since Sept. 5 on charges of first-degree rape of a child, forcible oral sodomy of a child, lewd molestation, lewd proposal to a child and two counts of using a computer to facilitate a sex crime, court records show.
Denman is awaiting sentencing and has no plea deal with prosecutors, records indicate.
Another former employee, Israel Shalom Castillo, 23, is charged with making a lewd or indecent proposal to a child and using a computer to facilitate a sex crime. Those charges involve a fourth alleged victim at the church, a 15-year-old girl.
Castillo’s preliminary hearing was postponed last month after prosecutors said they are investigating a possible second victim in his case. Source Tulsa World November 20, 2012
John and Charica Daugherty both entered a plea of no contest to ‘failure to report child abuse.’ Both received a 5-year-deferred sentence, “WITH NO FINDING OF GUILT.”
At least three members of the church staff pleaded ‘no contest’ to charges of failure to report child abuse. All three were convicted. Two received 30 days in jail, and one a one-year suspended sentence.
Tulsa County Special Judge Bill Hiddle handed down the pair’s five-year deferred sentences.
“I would convict them, but the (maximum sentence) is a year, and I want to hold the hammer over your head for longer,” the judge said.
Hiddle gave the Daughertys a choice of a conviction with the same 30-day jail sentence currently being served by two other staff members or the five-year deferred sentence, which is not a conviction.
As senior staff members, the Daughertys, Hiddle said, should have the same responsibility to report the crime as the lower employees who first knew about it. However, the evidence was not as strong against employees further up in the church’s hierarchy.
“I’m constrained by the evidence,” he said. “The evidence is strongest against the lowest person.” Source: Tulsa World March 23, 2012
Something is very wrong with knowing of the rape of a child on your own, or your employer’s property – or any rape anywhere at any time, doing nothing, yet the charge being only a misdemeanor. Hushing rape a misdemeanor? A child is raped and you don’t even contact a parent.
“I have to focus on what effect did failure to report in the proper way have on the children of this church,” Hiddle said before announcing his decision.
He drew connections between this case and cases of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts, saying the three dragged their feet in the weeks before a police report was filed.
Hiddle said no action was taken during that time.
“No kidding: Nothing’s done. Nothing,” he said. “While this revival is going on and the perpetrator is in charge of the victims for days. It’s unbelievable.”
Prosecutors said that two days later, she told two of her youth group leaders about the assault and that they told Willemstein and George.
The two learned of another victim on Aug. 17. On Aug. 22, another victim told Charica Daugherty that Castillo had sent her sexually explicit Internet messages, court filings state. John Daugherty allegedly learned of the allegations from his wife and learned of the 13-year-old’s rape on Aug. 26, according to court filings.
At least by August 22nd Charica knew something, and if she failed to tell her husband for another 3 or 4 days, that’s a terrible thing – really an unbelievable thing. The two “youth leaders” told two days after the rape were Willemstein and George. Add two more days later and they learned of another victim. At some point after talking to the victim, Willemstein and George went to the church’s Human Resources director. Maybe they wanted the Denman and Castillo fired??? They were fired. Police were still not contacted. The mother was not contacted.
I believe no church wants this to happen to their parishioners or on their facility, but really, knowing and doing nothing for two weeks should not be considered just a misdemeanor. Oklahoma must re-examine its law. I know Pastor Sharon Daugherty is grieving for her church and her son and daughter-in-law and for the victim(s), but there is at least another mother grieving as well, and we don’t know how many little girls have had their lives changed forever.