The mother of an alleged victim of suspected child sex crimes has filed a lawsuit in Montgomery County District Court against the former minister of the Community Christian Church in Independence and its board of elders.
The mother of the victim, who is not being identified because it would also identify the victim of the alleged crimes, filed suit against Steven Paul Butler, 48, the former minister at the local church. Butler has also been charged by the Kansas Attorney General and is being held on $500,000 bond in the Montgomery County Jail facing criminal charges of aggravated indecent liberties with a child and aggravated sexual sodomy of a child.
The lawsuit accuses Butler and church of negligence for allowing the minister to have contact with her son, and other children, while he was a minister at the church. The lawsuit, which was filed Friday by Kala Spigarelli, from the Spigarelli Law Firm of Pittsburg, Kansas, accuses Butler of sexually abusing the boy during a four-year period from 2006 through 2010. Spigarelli is asking for a jury trial to determine the outcome of the lawsuit.
"During the years of 2006-2010, Butler committed the following acts of sexual harassment and sexual abuse against the boy through the use of his power and authority as a pastor at the church, touching the boy's body, touching his genitalia, and molesting the boy", according the the lawsuit. The mother said when she learned of the alleged abuse she reported it to an elder at the church, but Butler maintained his position with church until August of 2011 when Butler resigned.
The lawsuit alleges the church was "indifferent to the safety, security, and comfort of the members of the church, including but not limited to, the victim, during the time in which Butler was employed as a pastor; the church negligently left the victim and other minor children alone with Butler during church sessions; the church failed to properly hire and supervise Butler in his position as pastor; the victim has suffered and continues to suffer physical injury and emotional distress; the victim's emotional and physical distress has caused the victim to out during school and at home and caused physical trauma due to the alleged sexual abuse; and the victim requires counseling on a continued basis as a result of the alleged sexual abuse.
In the lawsuit, the victim's mother seeks in excess of $75,000 in damages for five counts of battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress by Butler, negligent infliction of emotional distress by the church, negligent supervision by the church and negligent hiring and retention by the church.
(Allen Smith--Independence Daily Reporter)