According to The Christian Post, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland has dismissed a case that alleged that leaders of Sovereign Grace Ministries attempted to cover up a sex abuse scandal at the Bethesda Covenant Life Church.
This is the second time a judge has dismissed the case on a technicality in a lawsuit that claims the evangelical church-planting ministry consisting of some 90 congregations conspired to cover up sexual abuse of children.
"It turns on whether the judge's dismissal [in 2013] was a final judgment or not ... it doesn't have anything to do with the merits of the case at all," the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Susan Burke told the Christian Post. "It was an issue that wasn't raised by the other side. It was an issue that the court injected and we think they got it wrong."
SGM Executive Director Mark Prater said in a statement the organization stands by its innocence.
"Sovereign Grace continues to deny all allegations of conspiracy and cover-up of abuse made against us in this civil suit," Prater stressed to The Christian Post. "The pastors and churches in Sovereign Grace care deeply about protecting children from abuse and caring for the victims of abuse. We also encourage our churches to report abuse or allegations of abuse and to cooperate with civil authorities. We not only believe that child sexual abuse is wrong, we want our churches to be a place where survivors of abuse can find the help and hope offered in the gospel of Jesus Christ."
Publication date: July 2, 2014