MO--Lawsuit vs. abusive minister & ex-radio host settles

MO--Lawsuit vs. abusive minister & ex-radio host settles

Lawsuit vs. abusive minister & ex-radio host settles

One of his victims will speak publicly for the first time

He sexually repeatedly exploited her during counseling

He surrendered his psychologist’s license to state officials

But he’s now around “vulnerable adults” as hospice chaplain

Last month, he was honored by a large local funeral home chain

And he also reportedly worked for Cardinals & Seattle Mariners

SNAP urges others who “saw, suspected or suffered” misdeeds to “speak up

WHAT:

Holding signs and a photo of an alleged offender at a sidewalk news conference, a woman who was sexually exploited by a minister, ex- psychologist, ex-St. Louis Cardinals consultant and ex-KMOX radio talk show host will

-- blast a funeral home & hospice provider for honoring the minister last month,

-- discuss, for the first time, her civil lawsuit against the minister and his church, and

– disclose that the suit has settled and that his psychologist’s license has been revoked, and

-- prod anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered his misdeeds to speak up, expose wrongdoing, and protect others.   

WHEN:

Wednesday, Oct. 22 at 2:30 p.m.

WHO:

A woman who was sexually exploited by her minister, filed an unusual lawsuit against him, settled the case and now worries about the minister’s efforts to gain access to other vulnerable adults. She'll be joined by her husband and three-four members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

WHERE:

Outside the Unity Hospice headquarters, 6406 Wise Ave. (corner of Tamm) in St. Louis’ Dogtown neighborhood

WHY:

Last month, Rev. Bill L. Little was honored by a local funeral home and the hospice company where he works. http://www.unityhospice.com/2014/09/unity-hospice-chaplain-receives-hospice-caregiver-award/#.VEHFtFrcmQw.email

But two lawsuits against him, charging that he sexually exploited congregants or counselees, have settled. And while being investigated, he relinquished his psychologist’s license to state officials and was ordered to surrender his certificates and licenses due to an inappropriate relationship with a patient and for performing treatments for which he was not licensed. (As best SNAP can tell, he has never regained his license.)

http://pr.mo.gov/boards/psychology/discipline-past/Little,%20Bill%20%20%2000300.pdf

Now, one of his victims is speaking publicly about the suffering Rev. Bill Little caused her and her family.

Little (a.k.a. Billy Lee Little) is an ex-psychologist, ex-radio talk show host and ex-St. Louis Cardinals employee. His latest victim, Rhonda Pitt of Chesterfield, was being counseling by Little. She quietly settled her case against him and his church last year. (The suit attracted no publicity when it was filed or resolved.) Church officials paid $25,000 and Little himself paid $5,000.

Out of concern for others, Pitt is disclosing and discussing her settlement and Little's continuing moves to gain positions of trust where he'll be able to meet other vulnerable women.

The North County church which Rev. Little headed for 50 years (Christ Memorial in Cool Valley) has disbanded, but he now works as a chaplain for Unity Hospice (314-645-8648). In recent years, he has also worked at a funeral home and “organized and cofounded the Cancer Support Center of St. Louis, which he served as executive director.”

Little’s recent award came from the Baue Funeral Homes, Crematory & Cemetery Hospice Caregiver Award and is posted on Unity Hospice’s website.

http://www.unityhospice.com/2014/09/unity-hospice-chaplain-receives-hospice-caregiver-award/#.VEHFtFrcmQw.email

For 17 years, Little had a counseling show on KMOX and reportedly “became the first sports psychologist employed by a major league baseball team when he worked for the St. Louis Cardinals (1978-1982).”

http://www.wordandway.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=952&Itemid=197

According to the most recent civil suit, Little became the marriage counselor for Darrell and Rhonda Pitt in 1983. After several sessions, he told the couple that Rhonda required special solo counseling sessions, which she attended for a few years.

During these sessions, Little used his position of authority to exploit and coerce Rhonda into sexual contact. Later, the suit says, Little demanded silence from Rhonda. In 2010, she got counseling from another professional who urged her to report Little’s manipulation and misdeeds. She told her husband that same year.

When Darrell confronted Little about his misdeeds, Little mocked him and derided his wife. Later, Little allegedly took to the pulpit at Christ Memorial and derided Darrell publicly. The couple sued Little for negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress, breach of fiduciary duty, and defamation. They also sued Christ Memorial for intentional failure to supervise Little.

Ironically, Little has written an advice book for families called “Get it Together Before it Is Too Late.”

Little has faced at least one similar suit in the 1990s. It was settled out of court. The victim was represented by Gerald Greiman (333-3901, ggreiman@spencerfane.com).

Little and church officials urged St. Louis County Judge Steven Goldman to toss the Pitt’s case out but failed. It was resolved through mediation.

It was an unusual case because it's rare that those victimized as adults are able or willing to take legal action to expose their predators. (But in more than a dozen states, any sexual contact by a minister with a congregant is a criminal offense.)

SNAP is urging anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered wrongdoing by Little - in any of his jobs or roles - to contact the police or their group. Both SNAP and the Pitt family are also encouraging local churches, funeral homes, non-profits and chaplain programs to avoid using Little, on either a paid or a volunteer basis.

The couple was represented by Ken Chackes (872 8420, 369 3902 cell) and Nicole Gorovsky (872 8420). Little (who lives in St. Charles County with his second wife) was represented by Aaron Staebell (636-272-3606, aaron@lohmarstaebell.com). The church was represented by Cynthia S. Holmes (721-7010, officecsh@aol.com). The suit was filed in December of 2011.

CONTACT

David Clohessy (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barb Dorris (314 503 0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)  

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