Senior Pastor in Indiana Protected Child Sexual Predator
According to The Roys Report, a pastor is facing charges of hiding multiple incidents of sexual assault at the Immanuel Reformed Presbyterian Church located at 2212 Yeager Rd, West Lafayette, IN 47906.
IndyStar published a detailed investigation on Monday, December 6, 2021, revealing that multiple incidents of sexual abuse occurred involving 15 children. Allegedly the church’s senior pastor, Jared Olivetti, was aware of the abuse being carried out by his own relative and attempted to cover it up. Olivetti is known for preaching sermons addressing the importance of using power correctly.
Olivetti was informed of two incidents of abuse by parents in October 2019. In April of 2020, another family reported to the church as well as the Indiana Department of Child Services. Later that year, the teen relative confessed to church elders of abuse involving two additional victims. Combine those with many that were reported outside of the congregation, and there were up to 15 possible victims.
When another local pastor discovered the allegations and Olivetti’s relationship to the alleged perpetrator, he insisted that Immanuel RPC report the findings to outside authority. Unfortunately, the report states that the elders “notified themselves.” The pastor was not happy with this and called for the resignation of the elders, claiming they were “covering their ears, closing their eyes to what was obvious.”
Hidden Allegations By the Elders
It was not until September of 2020 that the congregation was informed of the allegations. A letter was sent out that failed to include the perpetrator’s name as well as did nothing to detail the additional safety measures to prevent further abuse. In October, another letter from Olivetti stated that steps were in place to prevent abuse, but these only applied to the teen, according to IndyStar.
When parents began inquiring about the allegations, they were told it was unnecessary and to “pray for the church leaders and not gossip.” Many parents quit attending the church, and a former deacon resigned. After he left the church, the former deacon emailed to inform the church members of the extent of the abuse and the church’s negligence.
An ecclesiastical judicial commission was appointed months after the first claims of sexual abuse were made, but charges were not made against the pastor or the alleged teen perpetrator. On a national level, a new commission has been appointed, and a trial could take place as early as January. The senior pastor has been allowed to continue preaching at the church.
Legal Recourse Available For Victims of Sexual Abuse
We recently sat down with Indiana sexual abuse lawyer Jeff Gibson. Jeff shared some of his thoughts on the legal recourse available to victims sexually abused in a religious organization.
Laurence – What are the legal rights available for a church sexual abuse victim?
Jeff – Sadly, this is a global issue affecting all denominations of religions. Victims and their families may have grounds to file lawsuits against a church organization in addition to the perpetrator. This civil lawsuit would claim that the church was negligent in preventing the abuse. This could be from failing to implement safety measures, such as background checks, or neglecting to report claims of misconduct to officials.
Laurence – Are there statutes of limitations for a church sexual abuse lawsuit?
Jeff – Each state awards a different time limitation for filing a claim. In the state of Indiana, typically, the statute of limitations in a sexual assault case is seven years past the victim’s 18th birthday. However, this rule has many exceptions, and each case is unique. It is advisable to reach out to an experienced sexual abuse lawyer as soon as possible to determine if the limitations have expired.
Laurence – What damages can be recovered in a sex abuse lawsuit?
Jeff – Financial compensation may be awarded to the victim and their family. This may be used to cover many things, such as the therapy needed after such a traumatic experience.
Laurence – Why should victims and their families talk to a sexual abuse attorney?
Jeff – Aside from being emotionally difficult, the laws involved in sexual abuse cases are very complex. After a complete legal analysis, an experienced sexual abuse lawyer can help victims explore their unique legal options.
Mr. Banville is a personal injury attorney who has experience in handling auto accidents, work injuries, medical malpractice, dog bites, slip and falls, and representing survivors and victims of sexual abuse. Mr. Banville is affiliated with law firms in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, D.C., and Maryland. Justice Guardians