Apostolic Assembly Church of Lord Jesus Christ pastor, Jerry Jones, is charged with three felony counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of three victims all under the age of 18, according to Fox32Chicago News.
Jones faces charges of allegedly grooming the three girls for sexual abuse. The victims are: a church member, a 21-year-old woman, and his two nieces, now 30 and 34 years old. The 21-year-old claims to have been sexually abused from ages 11 to 17, while the nieces say they were abused from ages five to 15. Jones was allegedly abusing these girls at both the church and his home. His nieces claim he repeatedly rubbed against them and would touch their private parts. The 21-year-old said Jones rubbed himself against her back with his hands up her skirt. Additionally, the woman reported that Jones would grab his genital area in front of her and say how rough he was in bed, how big his penis is, and how he couldn’t wait to have sex with her.
Jones’ attorney denied the claims against him during a bail hearing.
Attorney contributor Brian Kent, an experienced sexual abuse lawyer in Illinois, represents victims of sexual abuse in civil lawsuits. In an interview, Brian shared his insights on sexual abuse in a church.
Kent, in our interview, discussed the obligation of a church to protect its members. He highlighted that sometimes sexual predators exploit their victims by placing themselves in positions of trust and power to commit abuse. This can be demonstrated in religious organizations as we’ve seen numerous religious leaders charged with congregation members’ sexual abuse. Unfortunately, this occurs across all ages, including youth congregation members.
Kent later mentions the responsibility of religious organizations to uphold the safety of their congregation members. He stated that religious organizations must do their best to uphold all congregation members’ safety and prevent sexual abuse. In some cases, sexual abuse happens as a result of negligence by the religious organization. For example, if previous sexual misconduct complaints were filed against active clergy members or workers and are ignored, the religious organization is being negligent. In negligence cases by religious organizations, the victim of sexual abuse and their families may have grounds for a lawsuit.