TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Two youth ministers at a Tulsa megachurch say misdemeanor charges of failing to report child abuse against them should be dismissed because no one in the case has been, nor can be, charged with child abuse.
Victory Christian Center ministers John Daugherty, his wife, Charica, and three other employees were charged in September for allegedly waiting two weeks to notify authorities of the reported rape of a 13-year-old girl by a former employee in a stairwell on the campus of the 17,000-member church. All have pleaded not guilty.
The motion, filed Friday in Tulsa County District Court, states that state law defines child abuse as an act committed "by a person responsible for the child's health safety or welfare."
The document says that 20-year-old Chris Denman, who is charged with first-degree rape of the girl and other sex crimes, was not a church employee at the time of the Aug. 13 assault, was not responsible for the girl and cannot under state law be charged with child abuse.
State law "applies to a very specific event, abuse by a person responsible for the child's health, safety, or welfare," according to the motion. "The facts of this case do not meet" state law.
The Daughertys and their attorney, Jason Robertson, did not return phone calls seeking comment Saturday.