On Friday, the mother of the 13-year-old filed a lawsuit against the church, alleging that officials attempted to cover up the incident to do “damage control.” The suit filed in Tulsa County District Court is seeking more than $75,000, according to the complaint.
Some members of the large, tight-knit church are beginning to open up about the alleged crimes, especially since Sharon Daugherty told congregants during a weekend sermon to speak out about child abuse.
Tim Peterson, a 28-year Victory member, said other churches across the country should learn from what's happened here.
“It's a bad situation for the church to be on the front page of the paper every day, but there isn't a church within a 500-mile radius that doesn't know about this now.
“Every youth pastor knows now `If I suspect abuse, I need to report it,' because if you don't report this, you could end up being charged,” Peterson said.
Pam Tiernan, a member of the church for more than 30 years, praised Victory Christian Center for being as transparent as possible regarding the allegations against the former employees.
“That's how you heal,” she said. “You don't sweep anything under the rug.”
The ministry — founded in 1981 by Sharon and the late Billy Joe Daugherty and shaped in a similar mold to Tulsa televangelist Oral Roberts' charismatic Christian ministries — issued statements last week accepting responsibility for the lapse in reporting.
In a statement to The Associated Press, the church said its employees failed to follow a written policy requiring any allegation of abuse to be reported by employees to the state's Department of Human Services, and internally within one hour to their department head and the director of human resources.