Family of church’s pastor accused of abusing teen at church
WASHINGTON — The family of a former pastor who has been charged with sexually abusing an underage boy has filed a federal lawsuit accusing him of raping and sexually abusing a teenage girl at a Washington, D.C., church.
According to the complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, the victim told her family about the abuse in 2015.
She said the abuse began in 2014 when she was 14 years old.
The lawsuit, filed in U to the U. S. District court in the Eastern District of Virginia, claims the defendant “continued to prey on and exploit the victim” and is “a serial child predator and predator-in-residence.”
It alleges that “the defendant abused her for at least 14 years in violation of the Victims Protection Act and the Uniform Crime Reporting Act.”
The suit also accuses the defendant of “sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of a minor.”
The victim told CBS News she was a virgin at the time of the abuse and that her parents didn’t report it to authorities until she was in her late teens.
According for the lawsuit, the girl told her parents the abuse happened when she and another member of the church, known as a “baptist youth,” were playing with a Bible in the back room of the D.T.M. Church in 2015 and that they had sex that night.
The church did not respond to a request for comment.
The plaintiff is the wife of the pastor, Steven Sturgis, the church’s former pastor.
He is accused of raping the girl at least twice.
The suit says he is not a member of a church and has not been charged.
The victim told authorities that she and the pastor had sex on multiple occasions, but that she did not know who the other participants were.
The complaint says she told the victim about the assaults at age 15 and that she told family members.
In addition to the lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the District Of Columbia, there is another civil suit pending against the church.
The alleged abuse occurred during the 1980s and 1990s, according to the suit.