A local family has filed a lawsuit to hold a Williamson County church accountable after their 3-year-old was sexually assaulted at the church.
According to the lawsuit filed Monday, a teenage volunteer at Fellowship Bible Church of Williamson County raped the child in a church bathroom on August 24, 2014.
The family of the 3-year-old had been members of the church for 12 years. They were baptized and married at the church and saw the church as a second home.
On the day the sexual assault took place, the parents dropped off their two children at the Children’s Ministry for it’s care, but while there, the 3-year-old was taken into a bathroom by a teenage volunteer and sexually assaulted, but the family didn’t find out about the situation until the next weekend.
“Their son was saying he didn’t want to go back to church.” said Kathryn Barnett of Morgan & Morgan, the firm representing the family. She added that’s when the parents asked more questions and found out what happened.
According to Barnett, the family reached out to the church to let them know what their child had told them to get to the bottom of the situation, and at first, the church denied that it happened, stating the child was making it up.
According to court papers “the Church urged the (family) not to pursue criminal charges against the perpetrator.”
The family later took the teenager to court where he pled guilty for aggravated sexual battery.
The lawsuit also alleges the church misled the parents of other toddlers and “sought to hide the truth about the perpetrator pedophile and about the rape of (the 3-year-old) from other families.”
“We want justice for this family.” Barnett explained, “but also we want to make sure that every child at this church and every church is safe.”
The lawsuit alleged that the church did not adequately protect the children by not completing adequate background checks, not lining out policies and procedures, and not providing adequate training.
“It’s not okay to wait until a child is raped before you start to take youth protection seriously.” Barnett said.
News Channel 5 reached out to officials at Fellowship Bible Church of Williamson County, but they had no comment.