After Youth Minister Charged With Sex Offense, Church Vows to Protect Kids With ... First Aid Course?
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (CN) - After a youth minister was charged with sex offenses, a Baptist church promised to protect its children, but all it did was offer an optional first aid course, and a second employee sexually abused another child, the family claims in court.
Parents John and Jane Doe sued Spring Creek Baptist Church on behalf of their minor daughter Janie, in Montgomery County Court. The church itself is the only defendant.
"In 2009, a youth minister at Spring Creek was criminally charged with having sexual contact with minors in Spring Creek's youth groups. The youth minister resigned voluntarily," the complaint states.
"Afterwards, at least one member of Spring Creek communicated to Senior Pastor Paul Bunger that Spring Creek should adopt policies for protecting children in its care.
"Spring Creek adopted no policies for protecting children other than offering a first aid course for Sunday School teachers on a voluntary basis."
That was inadequate, the Does say.
The complaint continues: "Multiple members warned Senior Pastor Bunger and other church leaders that a man, Christopher Ryan Crossno ('Crossno'), was behaving inappropriately toward young children in Spring Creek's Sunday School programs.
"One Spring Creek employee observed Crossno in a Sunday School classroom reaching to put his hand up a young girl's dress. The employee stopped Crossno before it went further.
"A concerned parent told Senior Pastor Bunger and other church leaders that Crossno was making a young girl in a Sunday School classroom uncomfortable by tickling her.
"One Spring Creek member communicated to Senior Pastor Bunger that Crossno's behavior was characteristic of a pedophile and that Spring Creek should take steps to keep him away from children.
"Spring Creek did not prevent Crossno from having access to the children in Spring Creek's Sunday School program.
"Instead, for the Fall 2012 - Spring 2013 term, Spring Creek named Crossno as one of the teachers of its first grade Sunday School class.
"Janie Doe was a student in Spring Creek's first grade Sunday School class in fall 2012.
"During class on November 18, 2012, Crossno sexually abused Janie Doe in the Sunday School classroom."
The family seeks punitive damages for negligence and recklessness.
"Spring Creek's knowledge based on the prior charges against its youth minister regarding sex with minors, and the warnings Spring Creek had received regarding Crossno, Spring Creek's conduct constitutes recklessness," the complaint states.
The family is represented by Brandon Bass with the Law Offices of John Day in Brentwood, Tenn.