KS--New abuse & cover up lawsuit is filed
New abuse & cover up lawsuit is filed
It’s against big Lenexa non-denominational church
Officials there knew man had molested others before
Still, they let him volunteer at Vacation Bible School
And he assaulted two young kids and is now in prison
He told one girl he’d go after her youngster sister if she didn’t comply
SNAP: Independent ‘mega-churches’ are “next frontier” in abuse cases
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will
-- disclose a new civil abuse and cover up lawsuit against a large KC area mega-church, and
-- urge parents and congregation members to require these churches to enact policies to protect children.
The group predicts that more and more sex scandals are emerging and will continue to emerge in large, independent ‘mega-churches’ because their pastors are often very powerful and charismatic and there’s little or no lay oversight or church hierarchy that might hold predatory preachers accountable.
TODAY, Wednesday, June 8 at 1:00 p.m.
On the sidewalk outside the Westside Family Church, 8500 Woodsonia Drive (off of W. 83rd) in Lenexa
Three-four victims of clergy sex abuse who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including a St. Louis man who is the organization’s long time director
Last October, Kessler P. Lichtnegger was sentenced to 17 years in prison for sexually abusing two girls as a volunteer leader at Vacation Bible School at Westside Family Church (913 422 8257), a large, non-denominational ‘mega-church’ in Lenexa Kansas.
A new lawsuit, brought by those two children and their families, charges that church officials knew Lichtnegger had committed similar crimes years before but still gave him access to kids. Church staff claim they told Lichtenegger that he could be in the building only with his father. But they still let him be a leader in his small group and volunteer in Vacation Bible School.
In April 2012, church officials knew that Lichtenegger pleaded guilty to two counts of lewd and lascivious behavior and one count of battery against an adopted child who found just before dark by police at Windsor Park in Johnson County “catatonic,” with cuts, torn clothes and a fat lip.” At the time of the crimes, Lichtenegger was a freshman at Shawnee Mission East High School.
In the new lawsuit, two youngsters say that Lichtenegger engaged in lewd, lascivious and sexual behavior with them at church after having gotten their contact information in his role as a Vacation Bible School leader and volunteer. The suit charges that one of the girls was raped on church property. Lichtenegger forced her to perform sex acts on him under threat of going after her younger sister if she did not comply.
Westside’s pastor is Rev. Dan Chaverin. Lichtnegger’s defense lawyer is Heath Stuart.
http://shawneemissionpost.com/2015/10/28/former-sm- east-student- kessler-lichtenegger-sentenced-to- 17-years- in-prison- on-attempted- rape-charge- 44094
http://www.kshb.com/news/crime/court-documents- student-accused- of-rape- admitted-exchanging-pics- with-2- underage-sisters- to-pastor
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.