Lawsuit filed against Raytown church, former singles minister - Word&Way

Lawsuit filed against Raytown church, former singles minister

Independence — A former church intern has filed a civil lawsuit against First Baptist Church, Raytown, its pastor and a former singles' minister, claiming sexual assault.

The case, filed in the Independence office of the 16th Judicial Circuit Court, Jackson County, on June 28, lists six counts of battery and three counts of false imprisonment against Mark Brooks.

The suit charges that Brooks assaulted the intern several times from September 2003 to January 2004. The plaintiff discovered she was pregnant a few weeks after the January assault. The baby was born in late 2004.

The attacks allegedly took place in a vehicle on church property, at Brooks' home and in a Chicago-area hotel. The suit alleges that Brooks told the woman "it was God's will" for the two to be together.

In her suit, the young woman contends that pastor Paul Brooks, who is Mark Brooks' father, and the church failed to adequately supervise the younger Brooks as their employee, and that they failed to adequately investigate the matter once they learned about it.

She also alleges a counselor and Mark Brooks suggested terminating the pregnancy.

In a July 1 message posted on the church's Web site, First Baptist's deacon chairman Carey Casey and personnel chairman Jim Deis informed church members that Mark Brooks is the father and that he has agreed to support the child.

The pair asked members to pray about the situation and for the families involved. "We're reminded that God is in control despite our circumstances," they wrote. "It is our desire that God be glorified by the way we respond with truth and grace to this matter."

They noted that the church's attorneys have restricted the information that can be released because of the pending litigation. (07-27-05)