WASHINGTON (WNEW) — After the Loudoun Times-Mirror published an article March 25 about an alleged culture of sexual and physical abuse at Sterling’s Calvary Temple church, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed an investigation of the church.
“We understand the concerns of the public, and we want to ensure everyone that we take all allegations of abuse seriously and these crimes will be investigated to their fullest extent,” Sheriff Mike Chapman says.
No further details are being released by the Sheriff’s Office at this time since the investigation is ongoing, but two alleged female victims tell the Loudoun Times-Mirror that they were sexually and physically abused by church leaders as children, and that their allegations were ignored by other members of the congregation.
Other past congregants have started blogs and websites dedicated to detailing other kinds of negative effects the church has had on their lives, including the separation of husbands and wives, parents and children, encouraged by leaders after a member of the family left the church or spoke out against its practices, they say.
More than one former church member has called the congregation a cult.
Dozens of protesters gathered outside Calvary Temple Sunday to help draw attention to claims against the church. Online, alleged victims and their supporters are using the hashtag #ExposeCalvaryTemple.
Chassadi Thompson, now 26, tells the Times-Mirror that she was miserable at the hands of a deacon and his wife who had custody of her and her brother from the time she was 4 years old.
The deacon’s wife, she says, spanked her, pinched her and physically abused her in other ways.
She says was given no privacy — her bedroom door was allegedly taken off its hinges and she wasn’t allowed to close the bathroom door while she bathed or got dressed.
The deacon began sexually abusing her when she was 12 or 13, she says.
Another woman, now 21, was not named by the Times-Mirror, but she says she remembers several incidents in which teachers and teacher’s aides inappropriately touched or sexually assaulted her.
In more than one case, according to the victim, another church member witnessed the encounter and did nothing to stop it.
This isn’t the first time the massive church, which sits just off Route 7, has been in the headlines.
Star R. Scott, the church’s senior pastor, was investigated by the IRS in 2009, according to the The Washington Post.
Months before, The Post wrote another article centered around Scott, detailing some of his “polarizing” ways.
Included in the story were anecdotes about a 55-year-old Scott marrying a 20-year-old “virgin bride” just weeks after his wife passed away in 2002; and an automotive outreach program called Finish the Race for which he bought expensive cars — including Corvettes and Ferraris — claiming his aim was to reach out and attempt to convert people at racing events.
Detectives from the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office Juvenile Sex Crimes Unit are asking anyone who has any information regarding the investigation to call the Criminal Investigations Division at 703-777-0475.
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