According to The Northern Virginia Daily, a 63-year-old former Toms Brook United Methodist Church pastor was arrested for sexually assaulting a victim who is less than 13 years old.
Stanley Alvin Thompson was charged with aggravated sexual battery and is being held without bond at Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail. Prior to joining the church in 2015, Thompson worked at Crenshaw United Methodist Church.
The Woodstock Police Chief could not provide any further details on the active investigation. Thompson resigned on March 18th, according to The Northern Virginia Daily.
Attorney contributor, Kevin Biniazan, who has experience as a sexual assault lawyer, represents victims of sexual assault in civil lawsuits. Below, we asked Kevin to provide information regarding the rights of victims sexually assaulted by a pastor:
"Churches can sometimes be home to sexual predators. In order to have access to victims, predators often use their positions of power to their advantage and harm individuals under their wing. Institutions like churches must protect their members from hurtful leaders and have a legal obligation to provide safety. They may be considered negligent when assault cases occur and proper protection measures were not in place."
"In some cases, negligence is the cause of sexual abuse within a religious organization. When previous complaints of sexual assault against a particular priest are ignored, negligence is occurring. Cameras in churches are necessary in order to provide security and ensure safety around the building. In negligence cases, victims should be aware they may have grounds for a civil lawsuit against the clergy member and the establishment itself."