A former youth pastor from Living Waters Church will stand trial next week to face allegations that he sexually abused a 16 or 17-year-old girl between March and August of this year. Jerred Colby Peacock is scheduled to appear in circuit court on Thursday, December 13 after being arrested by Lee County deputies on a warrant in October. After that arrest, he was released on a $100,000 bond.
Peacock has previously worked as a youth minister in Bradenton, Florida and as an adult youth minister in Winter Haven, Florida. At Living Waters, he completed leadership oversight of all children and youth ministries. He left Living Waters in May before the allegations were brought forward..
Attorney contributor Michael Haggard represents these survivors in civil lawsuits. Here is his perspective on the options for legal recourse available to those who have been sexually abused by religious leaders:
In cases of child sexual abuse, the perpetrator is often someone close to the victim - whether it be a relative or an authority figure, such as a teacher or church leader. Cases involving priests, pastors, and other religious leaders are commonly seen in headlines across the nation. These trusted community members exploit their positions of trust and authority in order to victimize innocent children. When this happens, we must seek justice for the victims and make sure that both the perpetrator and the church are held accountable if the church enabled the abuse through negligence.
Religious organizations can be negligent in many ways, such as failing to report complaints of sexual misconduct to law enforcement and attempting to cover up crimes of sexual abuse.
If you or a loved one has been sexually abused by someone in a religious organization, you can find justice for the trauma your family has suffered. If you'd like to learn more about your family's legal options, consider speaking to one of our experienced sexual assault victims attorneys.