Nadrich & Cohen is investigating claims of sexual abuse at the hands of members of the International Churches of Christ (ICOC) and the International Christian Church (ICC).
Multiple lawsuits claim the two churches have covered up sexual abuse of adults and child sexual abuse, including the sexual abuse of a three-year-old child.
Sixteen plaintiffs claim that leaders of the ICC and ICOC knew members of the churches sexually abused children and adults. The lawsuits claim the leaders often hid the abuse to prevent the police and child protective services from discovering it. Thirteen of the plaintiffs were under the age of 18 when their alleged abuse occurred.
The ICOC has a children’s ministry called Kids Kingdom. The lawsuits allege that Kids Kingdom was a “playground” for sexual abuse.
The lawsuits allege sexual abuse occurred from 1987 through 2012. Church websites and the lawsuits indicate some alleged abusers are still actively serving as leaders in the churches.
Call us today for a free, confidential consultation if you or a loved one was abused by a member of the ICC or ICOC, or text us from this page. You can speak with a member of our compassionate team belonging to the gender of your choice. We can take steps to ensure your identity remains confidential through the legal process.
Let us fight for you, hold the ICC and/or ICOC accountable for allowing and covering up your abuse and obtain for you the justice and compensation you deserve. Call us today for a free, confidential case evaluation.
How Much Do Nadrich & Cohen Cost?
Our law firm doesn’t charge clients a fee until and unless we recover financial compensation for them. This means we won’t charge you unless we win your case. We will only charge you a percentage of whatever money we recover for you. You won’t owe us any upfront costs. You won’t owe us any money out-of-pocket.
Sexual Abuse Compensation
We know you probably have many reasons to call us. We know that money might not be your number one priority. We understand how important it is to you that you receive justice, first and foremost. We know that holding the ICC and/or ICOC responsible for allowing and covering up your abuse can help affect change in the community and give you empowerment, closure and justice.
However, winning a lawsuit against the ICC and/or ICOC could also provide you with financial compensation, including compensation for:
- Emotional and psychological harm: You may be suffering from emotional, psychological or mental damage, like post-traumatic stress disorder. You may qualify for financial compensation for sexual abuse-related damages like these.
- Nominal damages: If you were threatened with sexual abuse but never actually abused, you might qualify for compensation for fear of abuse.
- Medical and therapy expenses: You might require long-term therapy or medical care to deal with the trauma of being abused. You may be eligible for compensation for this therapy or care.
- Financial harm: If you have lost money due to your abuse, such as from having to take time off from work for the sake of your mental health, you might qualify for compensation for this lost money.
- Punitive damages: You may qualify for punitive damages intended to punish the ICC and/or ICOC for knowingly allowing and covering up sexual abuse.
What you end up qualifying for and not qualifying for will depend on your case’s individual circumstances. An experienced sexual abuse attorney at Nadrich & Cohen can perform a thorough, free, confidential evaluation of your case to help calculate how much your case may be worth. After we do this, we can file a claim against any party responsible to seek compensation and justice for you. Our sexual abuse attorneys do whatever is necessary to maximize our clients’ financial compensation, including representing them in court when need be. We can help you maintain privacy through the whole process, including in trial if need be.
Lawsuits Allege Churches Who ‘Actively Concealed’ Child Sex Abuse
ICOC and ICC founder Thomas “Kip” McKean, according to the lawsuits, made several remarks about covering up child sexual abuse, such as:
- “We cannot report these abuses, because it would hurt our church, which is God’s Modern-Day Movement.”
- “We need to forgive our brothers who sin and realize that they are a new creation in Christ, and give them a chance to make things right. If we report them, it will destroy their lives and hurt the church.”
- “Do you want the fall of God’s modern-day movement on your head???!!”
- “The cause of protecting God’s Kingdom on earth is more important than the sin or the pain of a few individuals.”
The defendants, according to the lawsuits, engaged in strategic victim shaming and victim blaming. Young kids who suffered abuse, according to the lawsuits, were blamed for the abuse later on, with the ICOC claiming they wore “too provocative” of clothing.
One former ICOC member, according to the lawsuits, was pressured and convinced to not report the abuse of her three-year-old daughter. The lawsuits claim she was told it would “ruin everything” if she reported it, leading to the church going bankrupt. McKean, according to the lawsuits, personally contacted her and thanked her for not telling police about the abuse.
An affiliate of ICOC, Turning Point Church, according to the lawsuits, failed to take action when at least three abuse survivors reported sexual abuse to members of the staff, who never told the congregation about the abusers. Some of the abusers, according to the lawsuits, worked in Kids Kingdom.
One plaintiff in the lawsuits was allegedly molested by ICOC member Alfredo Alanis when she was 13 years old. The plaintiff’s mother told church leaders about the abuse, according to a lawsuit. McKean quickly became involved and, according to a lawsuit, offered to have Alanis call the girl to “apologize” as the sole remedy for the abuse.
The plaintiff’s mother, according to a lawsuit, was told by church leaders that nothing was going to be done about the abuse and that nothing could be done because McKean and the church had better lawyers and more money than the plaintiff’s family.
Another plaintiff in the lawsuits was allegedly sexually assaulted at age four by a teacher in Kids Kingdom, Fernando Sanchez. The child’s father told ICOC leaders about the abuse upon learning about it, and ICOC leadership allegedly took no action, allowing Sanchez to continue to teach at Kids Kingdom.
The child then entered a chemical recovery rehab program run by ICC at age 15, having experienced issues with substance dependency. However, instead of helping the child, Selina Ann Boquet, who ran the program, allegedly gave the child alcohol and sexually assaulted her.
Boquet allegedly told her sister-in-law in 2008 about the abuse and the sister-in-law reported it to ICC leadership. The lawsuit claims no action was taken. Instead, according to the lawsuit, ICC leadership decided to blame the victim for the abuse, throwing her out of the church for “adultery.”
Another plaintiff in the lawsuits was reportedly raped by a 25-year-old ICOC member when she was 13 years old. After reporting the rape to church leaders, the girl was allegedly isolated from her peers, treated differently than her peers, and was allegedly victim-blamed and called a “slut” by church leaders. The lawsuit claims church leaders eventually decided she was a “liability” and kicked her out of the church without ever reporting the rape to the police.
Lawsuit Claims Girl With Cystic Fibrosis Was Abused For 17 Years
One of the lawsuits claims that a girl with cystic fibrosis was abused by two ICOC members for 17 years, starting at the age of three. The lawsuit claims that the girl was abused by Nancy and Marty Wilksinson, and that their parents Mark and Cindy Wilkinson knew about it and covered it up.
The Wilkinsons, along with church leaders, orchestrated a strategic, deceptive and systemic cover-up of the abuse, according to the lawsuit.
When the girl first told a friend in church that Nancy was abusing her, ICOC leaders blamed the girl for “lying” regarding the abuse, instructing her to “forgive and move on,” commanding her to not say negative things about the Wilkinson family, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit also claims Mark and Cindy told the girl’s parents to ground her as punishment for “gossiping” about the family, saying this was a sin.
Marty later started abusing the girl as well, according to the lawsuit. The girl continued reporting abuse to leaders and members of the ICOC, but nothing was done, according to the lawsuit. A church leader allegedly told the girl she was upset that the girl reported the abuse, and hadn’t forgiven her for “threatening to pursue legal action.”
One ICOC leader, according to the lawsuit, responded to being told of the abuse by lying to the girl and saying he reported the abuse to child protective services. The girl called child protective services and learned no report was made, according to the lawsuit.
Two ICOC elders allegedly pretended to be shocked by the abuse being reported, yet did not report the abuse to the police.
The lawsuit provides a list of 45 church members and leaders who allegedly knew about the abuse but failed to report it.
Marty Wilkinson, according to the lawsuit, currently oversees all ICOC campuses in the United States.
Lawsuits Claim Churches Refused To Report Those Later Convicted Of Child Sex Abuse
David Iburg, also known as David Saracino, was convicted of forcibly raping a four-year-old girl, and received a 40-year sentence for it.
Before Saracino was arrested, though, several ICOC members, according to the lawsuits, reported to church leaders that Saracino had repeatedly sexually abused their daughters. The parents filed police reports, but the ICOC kept silent, according to the lawsuits. The church, according to the lawsuits, told the mothers not to tell anyone about what Saracino did, since doing so would “hurt the church.”
One plaintiff in the lawsuits was allegedly molested by Saracino when she was three years old. Church leaders, according to a lawsuit, asked the girl’s mother not to report the molestation to the police, saying they needed advice first from overseeing elders.
The next day, according to a lawsuit, John Bringardner, a lawyer and ICOC leader, called the girl’s mother and told her it would be a “huge mistake” to report the abuse to the police. Bringardner, according to a lawsuit, told the mother:
- Reporting the abuse might lead to the child being removed from the home and being abused more in foster care
- Reporting the abuse might cause people to lose faith in the church and leave it
- If the church couldn’t “make budget” because of a scandal caused by reporting the abuse, she would lose her job with the church and the church’s collapse would be all her fault
McKean, according to a lawsuit, told the mother that police would use the story to destroy the church if she reported the abuse.
Another plaintiff in the lawsuits was allegedly raped by Saracino as a young child. The child’s mother told ICOC leaders about the abuse, according to a lawsuit, which claims that the mother then reported the abuse to the police the next day. However, ICOC leaders had allegedly already tipped off Saracino by then, allowing him to relocate to a different city, causing the investigation to go stale.
Benjamin Samuel Speights was convicted of forcing a 14-year-old girl to participate in pornographic videos. Several children reported that Speights abused them while he was a leader in Kids Kingdom, according to the lawsuits, which claim that the ICOC never reported the abuse or tried to stop future abuse from occurring.
Nicholas Griffin Lombardi was convicted of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under age 15. The lawsuits claim that the defendants failed to report multiple abuse accusations against Lombardi.
William (Bill) Thomas McLaughlin was convicted of sexually assaulting a child. According to the lawsuits, he abused between 10 and 15 people, and all of the people he abused were expelled from or pushed out of the ICOC as a punishment for not complying with the commands of church leaders.
Tomotaka “Tom” Andrews Wilton was convicted of raping a child. According to the lawsuits, church leaders knew he had been raping a child for years but didn’t do anything to warn about his presence in the church. Wilton, according to the lawsuits, remains a member of ICC.
Lawsuits Claim Churches Used Payoffs To Hide Sexual Abuse
The lawsuits claim that the churches coerced parents and members to keep quiet about the child sexual abuse being committed by members of the churches. The lawsuits claim this coercion was in the form of non-disclosure agreements and payoffs. The lawsuits claim the churches used their “vast financial base” to cover up the abuse.
Lawsuits Claim ICOC Built Finances Through Financial Exploitation
The lawsuits allege that the money the ICOC used to cover up child sex abuse was raised through the financial exploitation of church members.
The lawsuits claim that members were forced to give 10 to 40 percent of their income to the church. However, the lawsuits also claim that members were forced to provide special contributions to fund missions. These contributions, given twice per year, equaled about 40 times the normal monthly payment to the church.
Only eight to 10 percent of money was spent on missions, according to the lawsuits, which allege that most of the money that members gave the church paid the salaries of upper leadership.
Church leaders, according to the lawsuits, would interrogate members regarding their income, and would even demand paystub copies from members.
When the church wasn’t receiving enough contributions from members, leaders would be forced to make up the difference themselves, or members would be forced to find the member who failed to contribute enough money and sit on that member’s porch unti the member arrived at home to recover money from them before the end of Sunday evening, according to the lawsuits.
A lawsuit filed in 2005 alleges the IOCC used guilt, peer pressure, manipulation and “cultlike tactics” to force members to give money to the church.
A former church member, according to the lawsuits, witnessed members being forced to sign non-disclosure agreements wherein the members would agree to not discuss the church’s true finances despite evidence of offshore accounts opened by ICOC containing vast amounts of money.
McKean, according to the lawsuits, even requested that members of the church give their COVID-19 relief funds to the church.
ICOC And ICC Sexual Abuse Lawyers
Nadrich & Cohen has been successfully representing survivors of sexual abuse since 1990. We are experienced, battle-tested sexual abuse lawsuit experts. We won’t charge you a penny unless we recover compensation for you.
Our legal system, unfortunately, sometimes seems like it cares more about punishing abusers then supporting abuse survivors. Sexual abuse survivors require advocates like the experienced sexual abuse lawyers at Nadrich & Cohen to fight on their behalf. Call a sexual abuse lawyer at Nadrich & Cohen today if you or a loved one is a survivor of sexual abuse at the hands of the ICOC and/or ICC. You may qualify for financial compensation.