Three sisters are suing two independent Baptist churches in Washington, alleging they failed to protect them from a pastor they say sexually abused them.
The two churches are Blessed Hope Baptist Church in Tenino and Calvary Baptist Church in Prosser. The lawsuit was filed in Thurston County Superior Court on Feb. 4 on behalf of Jessica Evans Dudley, Ashleigh Evans Burchard and Shannon Evans, all of Idaho.
The suit alleges David Bosley, who served as pastor at both churches, manipulated the women into his custody, groomed them and sexually abused them while they were children. The abuse allegedly started while Bosley worked at First Bible Baptist Church in Lacey, which was renamed and relocated to Tenino.
The three women are seeking damages for their medical expenses, emotional pain, physical injury and more.
"I decided to come forward, because Bosley is still out there running children's programs," Dudley said in a news release. "He needs to be stopped."
A larger web of issues surround Bosley
Bosley reportedly now operates two youth ranches in Missouri, Master's Ranch Christian Academy which has a location for older boys in Couch and a location for younger boys in Myrtle, as well as the Master's Ranch Girl's Academy in Thayer, which opened in September.
He also operated Master's Ranch West in Prescott, Washington, but that ranch closed in May following child abuse allegations. Walla Walla County Sheriff's deputies had been called to the site seven times over a 13-day period in May, including in response to reports of 30 angry students armed with shovels and brooms.
A Walla Walla County Superior Court judge later issued a permanent injunction against Master's Ranch West to prevent it from continuing, the Tri-City Herald reported Wednesday.
In October, Bosley posted a video on Facebook where he said he was shutting down his Washington ministry because "Washington state is full of Nazis who don't believe parents have any rights to their kids."
The locations in Missouri are unlicensed and are not required to adhere to safety codes, conduct background checks on employees or even notify the state of their existence. Reports of abuse and neglect have prompted scrutiny of such facilities in Missouri, the Kansas City Star reported.
The story begins in 1996
The three women met Bosley in 1996 when they were 10, 12 and 14 years old. At the time, Bosley worked as a pastor at First Bible Baptist church in Lacey, which the three girls and their family attended, according to the complaint.
The church moved to Tumwater in 1997, the complaint reads. In addition to serving as pastor, Bosley was elected as the church board president and he ran the church's school which he founded in its basement in 1997.
During this time, Bosley allegedly insinuated himself into the girls' lives and sent church members to "wrestle" the girls away from their mother, according to the complaint.
The alleged manipulation eventually culminated in the pastor and his wife winning non-parental custody of the three girls in 1998 while he was still employed at the church, the complaint read. From there, the suit alleges Bosley sexually abused the three girls with increasing intensity over several years and physically hurt them by whipping them with a belt.
Officials at the church eventually confronted Bosley and discharged him, prompting him to relocate to the Prosser church in 1999, according to the complaint. There he worked as a pastor and president of the board from 1999 to 2000. All the while, he allegedly continued to abuse the three girls while denigrating their birth parents, the complaint read.
The suit alleges that Bosley had been accused of abuse prior to his employment at First Bible Baptist. The suit also alleges neither church reported the pastor to law enforcement or welfare officials regarding their suspicions about Bosley's relationship with the girls.
"Each Defendant protected Bosley from being exposed for pedophilia, ephebophilia, and other wrongful conduct with plaintiffs, including failing to report each plaintiff's child abuse to the proper authorities," the suit says, "and enabling the perpetrator to continue to sexually harm plaintiffs."
After Bosley left the church, new management relocated the church to Tenino and renamed it Prairie Baptist Church in 1999 and then Blessed Hope Baptist Church in 2001, according to the complaint.
Coming forward now
Melanie Ballie, the attorney representing the women, called them brave for speaking up about a tragic situation from their past.
"It's tragic when institutions fail to report suspected child abusers in their organizations," Ballie said. "Failure to report enables abusers to continue to violate."
Baillie told The Olympian the three women chose to file the lawsuit now partly because they had come to realize how the alleged abuse is linked to issues they have today. She added it's common for victims of sexual abuse to take a long time to step forward.
"Most of the time, it takes a very long time, even to be able to address it to yourself, let alone speak up," Ballie said. "For some people, it takes a lifetime. I've represented people who weren't even able to say it out loud until 30 or 40 years past."
Baillie said she is not aware if her clients will pursue any legal action against Bosley himself. Whether the same church members who allegedly enabled Bosley's abuse are still present at the churches today is not relevant, she said.
"The churches are the churches," Ballie said. "Incidentally there are people that are still there (at the churches), but we're not suing individuals, we are suing the churches."
Bosley said in a Facebook message he disagreed with 99% of the complaint but declined to comment further.
The Tenino church responds
Dawn Carrillo, wife of pastor Norman Carrillo at the Blessed Hope Baptist Church in Tenino, told The Olympian she was shocked and upset when she learned about the lawsuit. She said she and her husband took over the church 21 years ago after Bosley had left.
"We've never heard anything like this, we've never heard any of these allegations," Carrillo said. "We're pretty shocked to be having a lawsuit brought against us where we could stand to lose what we've worked for all these years."
Carrillo said she and her husband were told the previous pastor left of his own accord because the church could not afford to continue paying him. Additionally, Carrillo told the Kansas City Star Bosley had left the church with debt, forcing her husband to take on a full-time job just to pay it off.
She said she does not understand how her church can be held accountable for something that started nearly two decades ago and did not involve them.
"I'm not saying that what (the three women) went through, whatever it was, was not true," Carrillo said. "I just don't know anything about it and my husband didn't either, nor did our church members that we have now. So it's really hard to kind of reconcile how we can be held accountable."
Carrillo said the church has been reorganized and renamed since then and only one elderly woman remains from Bosley's time at the church. She said she's afraid this lawsuit could tarnish the reputation of the church she and her husband have built.
"We've worked really hard to have a good standing with the community and to help the community," Carrillo said. "To see that destroyed overnight, or could be destroyed potentially overnight, is heartbreaking."
Calvary Baptist Church did not respond to requests for comment from The Olympian. However, Noel Little, senior pastor at the Prosser church told the Kansas City Star he was shocked to read the allegations and denied knowing about them or anyone involved.
"This is completely all new stuff to me," Little told The Star. "When I started reading this, I told my wife it's like reading a sexual novel. It's kind of a shock to me. I know nothing about any of these accusations or anybody involved with it."
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