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SNAP
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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release
Giving Voice to Victims

 

For immediate release:
Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Three child sex abuse & cover up cases against cult are dropped

A church official and an ex-church member allegedly molested four girls

One young woman has filed new slander lawsuit against the 'Temple'

Crimes spanned 1970s – 1990s & top leaders were warned of predators

WHAT

At a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will announce that

-- three recent child molestation lawsuits against a cult are being dropped,

-- they feel revictimized by church officials since filing the lawsuits, and

-- one young woman is pursuing a slander case against the church.

They will also publicly call on

-- others who saw, suspected or suffered sex crimes by cult members to contact police, and

-- lawmakers in two states to reform archaic, predator-friendly laws

WHEN

Monday, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 1:30 p.m.

WHO

One of the victims and the local head of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

WHERE

In front of the Davidson County Courthouse in downtown Nashville

WHY

In May, four young women filed civil lawsuits against the Christian Gospel Temple of Cross Plains, TN, charging that they were molested repeatedly between 1979 and 1995 by two predators associated with the church. According to the suits, even after temple officials, confirmed that the girls were being abused, they still refused to contact law enforcement or warn congregants.

For legal reasons, three of the four lawsuits are being dropped. One of the women, however, has filed a slander lawsuit against Christian Gospel Temple.

The alleged predators include a former pastor and a former member of Christian Gospel Temple, both were affiliated with the self-professed non-denominational church.

The crimes took place mostly in Chino California where the Temple was located until 1991. That year, Temple leadership and roughly 400 of its members moved to White House Tennessee (near Nashville). The Temple’s head told congregants that Californians were “full of sin” and had moved there “to find stardom” and that the state “could fall into the ocean someday,” according to the lawsuit.

The Temple was started by Rev. Cornelius Mears, “a strong and charismatic leader who controlled everything,” according to the suits. Around 1984, he tapped Rev. Paul Mears as the assistant pastor of the Temple. In the mid-1980s, Rev. Paul Mears became the head pastor over an Arizona church even after Rev. Cornelius Mears was informed of Rev. Paul Mears’ history of sexual abuse against minors . Rev. Paul Mears later rejoined the cult in Tennessee.

The civil suits are believed to be the first against the cult and were filed in San Bernardino County Court in Rancho Cucamonga, California.

The victims are Jennifer Meier-Beita, Lynette Fay, Crystal Mears, and Cheryl Mears, all in their 20s and 30s. Fay lives in Placer County California. The others live in Robertson, Sumer and Davidson County, Tennessee.

Meier-Beita was molested in 1984 by Carlos Cruz, a member of the church. The others were all abused by Rev. Paul Mears. Fay was molested from 1987-95, Crystal Mears was molested from 1978-82, and Cheryl Mears was molested from 1981-84.

The suits argue that Temple officials failed to report the accused to law enforcement and congregants, and “knew or had reason to know that their actions would silence (victims), preventing (them) from discovering (their) injuries” and exacerbating their “emotional distress and trauma.”

They claim that the defendants were “guilty of willfulness, malice and oppression” toward the victims “justifying an award of punitive damages.” The suits seek unspecified damages of more than $25,000.

Paul Mears is believed to be living at 313 Cherry Lane in White House, TN (615) 672-8371. Cruz is believed to be living at 9528 Surrey Ave. in Montclair, CA (909) 447-4294. The Christian Gospel Temple is at 8655 Highway 25 E Cross Plains, TN 37049 (615) 654-1231

For more information:

Attorney Joseph George of Sacramento CA 916 442 7100

Victim Jennifer Meier-Beita of Hendersonville, TN, 615 948 8445

Mike Coode of Nashville, Nashville SNAP Director 615-269-5165


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
www.snapnetwork.org
 


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