The Assemblies of God settled a recent sexual abuse lawsuit in Oregon before it needed to be taken before the court.
Several lawsuits have been filed in Portland against the Assemblies of God main office regarding claims of sexual abuse. The general denomination has attempted to settle the case before the case arriving in court, with at least a dozen motions to get the case dismissed. These included three appeals to the state supreme court. All of these motions were rejected, at least until recently. The Assemblies was successful in getting the case dismissed, with a settlement arranged with the other party.
The specific allegations involved correlated with abuse among the Royal Rangers, a Boy Scout-adjacent program that Assemblies of God attendees often attended. In one allegation, a Royal Rangers leader named Todd Scott Clark was reported to a pastor in Corvallis, Oregon, in 1984 for molesting scout members.
However, Clark was not dismissed and law enforcement was not informed. Similar allegations occurred the following year. It was not until 1986 that the third set of allegations would lead to the leaders being temporarily suspended. They were later reinstated into the Rangers, and continued to have unsupervised access to the kids in question. Clark and his co-conspirator were eventually arrested in 1987, where Clark pleaded guilty to sexually abusing children.
While those involved did not inform the Assemblies' leadership of these leaders' actions, the plaintiffs argue that the denomination was responsible for ensuring safeguards were installed to stop such acts from occurring without penalization. Gilion Dumas, the lawyer representing the men suing the Assemblies, told Christianity Today that "You don't have to be a genius to recognize that child molesters are going to be drawn where the children are. You just need to set up the proper boundaries and keep a better eye on your volunteers and have better supervision and training,"
Dumas argues that "If you have the power to tell them how to be a leader, as a national organization, you have the power to tell them what they can't do and that they have to report inappropriate behavior."
While the decision to avoid going to court may seem disappointing, Dumas says that the settlement amount will be enough to help the victims in question, including the funding of counseling.