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Wednesday, September 07, 2005                                                                                       View Comments

Woman sues pastor, church over sexual relations

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (AP) — A disabled woman who says she had sex with a pastor has filed a $1 million lawsuit against the pastor and the church that used to employ him.

Barbara Jo Stacey filed the suit in Lane County last week. It names Roger Stevens of Klamath Falls and BBC Ministries.

According to the suit, Stacey, at age 18, joined a college group at BBC Ministries, where Stevens was a pastor. A year later, on Nov. 20, 2000, she was involved in a car accident that hurt her physically and mentally.

Stacey went to her parents' home in Eastern Oregon before deciding to move into Stevens' home. The pastor handled Stacey's daily care, administering medications and dealing with her financial affairs.

The suit says he used that counseling relationship to induce her to into sexual acts that took in the home, at BBC Ministries, and other locations from the summer of 2001 to September 2003.

The suit alleges that the church was negligent because it either knew or should have known that Stevens "had engaged in inappropriate intimate contact" with other young women and was engaging in such contact with Stacey.

Stacey seeks up to $50,000 for economic damages and up to $1 million for punitive damages.

Gary Turner of Ashland, Stevens' lawyer, said his client denies the allegations. Turner said he'd looked at a law enforcement report and did not "find independent evidence to support her claims. There's substantial evidence discrediting her claims."

Klamath County District Attorney Ed Caleb said the sheriff's office investigated the case, but "determined the case couldn't be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal court."

Ben Brown, the senior pastor BBC, formerly known as Bible Baptist Church, said the church would have a statement after he consults with its board of directors.