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Donald Barrett case nearly bankrupts California COGIC jurisdiction

May 22, 2013 6 comments

An exclusive two part report

sexabusecases

The financial damage left by former COGIC minister Donald Barrett, is massive. If there’s one lesson COGIC should have learned by now its that sexually immoral clergy come with a steep price. The Donald Barrett case, unquestionably, is proof of that.

Last week we published an email by Barrett,  now living in the Atlanta area, proclaiming ” The case has been dismissed against me. I am yet a member of the Church of God in Christ, Inc.” But If Barrett is still a member of the Church of God in Christ, the first thing Bishop Charles Blake should do is require him to reimburse the church for hundreds of thousands of dollars lost due to his own admitted sexual immorality with two women in his congregation.  Then,  his credentials should be permanently revoked.

Barrett’s letter claiming  the case against him being dismissed is intentionally misleading. Court documents show the case was  dismissed only because of financial settlements with the two plaintiffs.   But that may be the least of the damage suffered by the denomination he called home for the last 40 years.

Sex cases cost the church big time. In the aftermath of  the legal proceedings, the financial loss was so steep Southern California 2nd Jurisdiction was left reeling and narrowly missed being forced to declare bankruptcy. Besides the $350,000 paid to the women from insurance claims, legal fees totalling $134,ooo pushed the jurisdiction’s finances to the brink.  Bishop George McKinney paid $4000 of personal money.  Whats more jurisdictional pastors were left with a $34,000 tab from Barrett’s out of control behavior.    The jurisdiction still owes over $100,000 in legal fees. Just one man’s ungodly action’s cost the church almost half a million dollars.

You can believe that a portion of that money was from the tithes, offerings, reports given by the saints of Southern California 2nd who had nothing to do with Barrett’s illicit actions. We’ve reported on scores of cases where the COGIC has been left holding the legal bill in the wake of sexual abuse cases.

  • In  2010, The Church of God in Christ’s Washington state jurisdictional headquarters at 9201 Pacific Ave was  put up for sale after having to pay a woman a million dollars in a  lawsuit the church lost in King County Superior Court.
  • In another case we reported on in 2011, Illnois 5th Jurisdiction was ordered to pay a 12 year old victim $1.5 million after she was sexually assaulted by Elder Ellis Barlow on a church trip.

How is God pleased with such an incredible waste of financial resources?

Report COGIC Abuse obtained court records detailing the deep  financial losses suffered.  These documents will be posted in our Letters and Documents section.

The Superior Court of California listed the case settled. To “settle” a case mean to legally end a dispute before the end of a trial. Since no case can be dismissed without a specific reason, omitting the reason for the dismissal is intentionally misleading. The question is why does Barrett want people to think the case was dismissed with no consequences? The settlement was reached Jan 29, 2013 with the two women by defendants Donald and Ruth Barrett, Greater Gospel Center COGIC of San Diego and the New Direction COGIC of Yuma, AZ. The settlement amount was $175,000 per plaintiff. One affidavit revealed that the Barretts filed for bankruptcy in a California court prior to the lawsuit, thus the entire burden for the legal assesments were placed on the two churches named in the suit.

To their credit and perhaps due in some measure to the work of Report COGIC Abuse, COGIC is moving towards seriously closing some of  the logistical loopholes which have in past times allowed ungodly men freedom to abuse others under their charge.  In another post, we will detail some of the new policy changes as recorded in the General Assembly minutes. Prayerfully, the Donald Barrett case will be the last of these types of  wicked and damaging incidents which have cast a pall over a great organization.

Listen to the audio of a COGIC “Review Board” questioning  Barrett about his involvement with the two women.

In an email to RCA, Dr. Donald Barrett asserts legal victory

donaldbarrettquoteDr. Donald Barrett is a man on a mission to clear his name. Report COGIC Abuse was the first to tell you about the lawsuits levied against the National church, Southern California 2nd Jurisdiction as well as several local churches in California and Arizona by two women who alleged the former Southern California 2nd Administrative Assistant had engaged in sexual acts with them among other charges. Read here, here and here for previous reports. RCA was informed that Barrett is scheduled to appear this weekend at New First COGIC in Chicago Heights, IL pastored by Bishop Robert Sanders.

Now, according to a letter sent to RCA, Barrett makes several counter allegations including accusing our site of  doing “irreparable damage to me, my family and my ministry”.  He requested that his email telling his side of the story be printed for all to read. In the spirit of fairness, RCA is reprinting the email verbatim for public review.

April 5, 2013

I write you with the assumption that you are a person who desires to expose the genuine truth. And if in fact, you are a person of righteousness, I pray you will post this letter and information therein, on your blog. First, let me start by saying, the case against me (Donald K. Barrett), my wife (Ruth) and any churches I have pastored, has been dismissed. Yes, Dismissed…there are no court actions pending against me. God has given us victory in this situation. “No weapon formed against thee, shall prosper…Isa. 54-17”. I would like to share with you the fact that the way the information was presented concerning the allegations against me on your blog known as COGIC ABUSE WATCH has done irreparable damage to me, my family and my ministry, simply because you took unsubstantiated allegations and presented them as truth; To present allegations in this fashion is paramount to passing judgment and entering a conviction without the benefit of a hearing or a trial. Certainly, this is neither done in a United States Court of Law, nor the Kingdom of God.

Therefore, I am writing to you to shed light on just a few things that did not show up in the plaintiff’s allegations filed in this civil matter. The two women who filed this civil lawsuit were allegedly lesbian lovers. Both women are in their middle to upper forties (40s).

The woman whom I had known for more than ten years (Ms. Harris)… is a woman, who had just in the past five or six years, had a case in the California courts against her for child endangerment; my wife and I worked with the California Department of Children and Family Services to keep her two children from being taken from her. This woman was a member of my church and that’s how we both knew her.

This was a case of jealous rage, hatred and a promise by Ms. Jones, who made the threatening statement, “I will do all I can to destroy you”.

Your blog reported that my wife attempted to offer Ms. Jones “hush money”. This is totally untrue! Ms. Jones asked for money in a written letter she gave to Bishop McKinney, who in turn gave the letter to me, where she asked me for $5,000.00 for her medical bills. Then instead of taking the money as SHE had requested, she decided to file a lawsuit – hoping for a bigger payday.

The blog you have written with its commentary is one-sided and bias against me and my ministry. I would be ever so pleased if you would report the outcome of this civil case, in this same arena where the allegations were reported.

I feel compelled to make you aware, that in December 2011, the plaintiff, Ms. Harris called my home and spoke to my wife and then to me and stated that, “the lawsuit is not my doing”. Ms. Harris stated that this lawsuit was Ms. Jones’ idea and she didn’t want to go forward with the suit. Are you aware that Ms. Harris, during her interrogatories give 10-12 dates and times when she was supposedly with me romantically? ALL these dates were impossible, because I was either out of state in Arizona teaching a bible class or at a national COGIC convention with my wife. Ms. Harris’ credibility could not, and did not hold up.

Ms. Harris and Ms. Jones’ lawyers and investigators, investigated my pastorate and ministries, going back at least twenty-five (25) years. These lawyers questioned and deposed former members, and leaders I had served and found nothing that would even hint to any improprieties or wrongdoings of any kinds and/or nature of sexual misconduct. They discovered nothing but praise from those I have served and served with. These same lawyers subpoenaed my financial and bank records for over the past twelve (12) years and no improprieties were found. My record is good and clean and still is.

I have been in ministry for almost forty (40) years and pastoring since 1989. I have NEVER been accused of sexual misconduct or misconduct of any kind until now. I have never been arrested for anything! Am I a perfect individual? No. But, my record speaks for itself.

It must be stated that there has been no cover-up or attempt to cover up by me, my wife or anyone associated with me.

The case has been dismissed against me. I am yet a member of the Church of God in Christ, Inc. If, in fact you are a crusader for righteousness, I pray, that rather than continuing to allow these flames of destruction to blaze, present, at least more than one side of this story. For that would be the truest example of righteousness and would also, pay homage to the scripture which implores us in I Corinthians 4:5 “Therefore, judge nothing before the time…” Should you desire to discuss this matter with me further, I invite you reply to this email in order to contact me for that express cause.  Dr. Donald K. Barrett

Postscript: RCA did reply to this email informing Dr. Barrett that we would review all our published articles to see if there was any merit to his claim. We also informed him that we were aware of information that would prove these latest claims of his false. He did not respond. We will present that information in a followup to this story.

Guidelines on abuse reporting to RCA

May 8, 2013 1 comment

Its been over three years since Report COGIC Abuse launched an unprecedented outreach which contained elements of confrontation and comfort. Confrontation to those in leadership who would abuse, manipulate and damage God’s people and comfort for the victims of such abuses.

Our reporting portal receives numerous reports each month and while we are grateful that people see RCA as a place they can share information that would otherwise be dismissed by church leaders, we simply cannot be all things to everyman.

About domestic violence, sexual infidelity situations

blkwomanReports of spousal abuse, abandonment and the likes are tragic examples of why COGICs Men’s Ministry and its Womens Department should step up (or institute) its efforts to address domestic battery, infidelity (adultery) and relational deception among its male and female attendees, respectively.  The problems are real and no amount of pentecostal praise is going to whitewash it away. Reports to RCA of such occurences are increasing and reveal that many women are suffering in silence while their husbands enjoy accolades for their preaching styles and membership building skills. And of course, their money paid to higher ups.

Our mission is to act as a restraint to those who abuse their authority and office in deference to their own carnal desires.  While Report COGIC Abuse will make every effort to help those who contact us, issues of domestic violence should be referred to local law enforcement authories. If a situation in the home has gotten beyond repair, we strongly encourage a certified report in writing to appropriate church authorities (bishop, executive secretary) in hopes that some form of discipline will be applied. If church authorities fail to respond or excuse malfeasance in one if its credentialed leaders, RCA will assist in exposing the problem.

God said divorce  is detestable (Malachi 2:16). If possible, and true repentance with proof of behavior change is evident, we encourage husbands and wives to reconcile and stay together.