Sharon Daugherty's call for members of the Victory Christian Center congregation to promptly report suspected child abuse would be laughable if the subject matter weren't so very serious.
Daugherty, senior pastor of the Tulsa-based megachurch, issued a statement Saturday during weekend services urging church members to “please inform the authorities immediately” if they know of any child who is being physically or sexually abused or neglected. “Our children are precious,” she said, “and we owe them our full protection.” This is especially rich given Daugherty's apparent foot-dragging in a child abuse case involving church staff members.
Five staffers, including Daugherty's son and daughter-in-law, have been charged with failing to report child abuse. Two church janitors face more serious charges — one is accused of raping a 13-year-old girl at the church; the other is accused of making a lewd or indecent proposal to a child and using a computer to facilitate a sex crime. Other children may have been abused as well.
A lawsuit filed on behalf of the 13-year-old alleged victim accuses church officials of a cover-up. Two weeks elapsed between the time the assault allegedly occurred and when police were notified. An accounting of that two-week period, provided to the Tulsa World by Victory Christian officials, says Daugherty learned of the incidents three days before anyone at the church tried to contact law enforcement. She said she didn't immediately report what she had learned because those who work under her were supposed to handle it.