More women join lawsuit against the Rock Church and recovery pro - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

More women join lawsuit against the Rock Church and recovery program

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  • Women suing Rock Church for sexual battery

    Women suing Rock Church for sexual battery

    Thursday, May 8 2014 8:56 PM EDT2014-05-09 00:56:20 GMT

    Six women seeking help through a drug and alcohol recovery program say they suffered sexual battery and harassment at the hands of their program director. The women have filed a lawsuit against the Rock Church Ministries of San Diego.

     

    Six women seeking help through a drug and alcohol recovery program say they suffered sexual battery and harassment at the hands of their program director. The women have filed a lawsuit against the Rock Church Ministries of San Diego.


     
SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Additional women have come forward accusing a director at a sober living program with ties to the Rock Church of sexual battery.

The plaintiff’s attorney, Irwin Zalkin, told CBS News 8, an additional seven women have come forward making allegations David Powers touched them inappropriately and sexually harassed them while being treated at ABC Sober Living. Since May a total of 13 women including a former employee accuse Powers of sex-related crimes.

"One of these girls were underage staying in the house and assaulted by him,” said Zalkin.

The Rock Church once referred members to the rehabilitation program. However, in May a spokesperson says the original six women making allegations against Powers were not referred to ABC Sober Living. Zalkin says some of the new accusers say they were referred by the mega church.

"I think we need to out this guy [Powers] out of business. I think Rock Church needs to own up and accept accountability for what they have allowed to have happened here," said Irwin.

In May, a civil lawsuit was filed against David Powers and his wife Tina Powers and clinical staff member Fred Murray. The lawsuit also names the Rock Church and ABC Sober Living claiming sexual battery, negligence, failure to warn, sexual harassment, failure to take reasonable steps to prevent discrimination and harassment, fraud and breach of statutory duty.

The suit says Tina Powers failed to report and intimidated witnesses and Murray is also accused of assault.

Zalkin say he plans to file an amended civil lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court on Thursday.

No one has been criminally charged. CBS News 8 has been told the San Diego Police Department is now investigating the case. We are waiting to hear back for a comment from the department.

Powers did not have a comment.

The Rock Church released this statement via e-mail:

“While these accusations are very concerning, none of the alleged misconduct took place on property owned or managed by the Rock Church or was committed by anyone under the authority and control of the Rock Church."

They were allegedly committed at a recovery center owned and operated by ABC Sober Living.

"Since the Rock was made aware of this situation, it immediately stopped referring people to ABC Sober Living until these claims are resolved,” according to Mei Ling S. Starkey a Media Relations/Social Media Director.

The attorneys plan to file the amended civil lawsuit Thursday in court, which is when we will hear from some of the new alleged victims.

CBS News 8 spoke to a SDPD Sex Crimes detective who says the accusers have been interviewed but they don't believe there is a crime so they are not investigating the case. However, they encourage anyone to come forward to police if they have information.

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