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Victim, witness accuse teacher of sexual abuse at church camp

A Chicago-area woman who wishes to remain anonymous, but who is described as a "suburban mom in her 30s" has sued the North Side Gospel Center and a woman who worked for them for her alleged molestation at a church camp years ago. A witness to the alleged sexual abuse has come forward to support her claim that the woman molested the accuser in 1996 at a Wisconsin religious camp. The alleged perpetrator worked for the Chicago church and at the camp.

The woman who is alleged to be the abuser is now employed at the Cooper Middle School in Buffalo Grove as a middle school teacher. She is currently on a leave of absence, and the school says it is investigating the allegations. The North Side Gospel Center says that it is "shocked" by the allegations, but that is cooperating with the investigation.

The witness, who went on camera to corroborate the alleged victim's story, told a local Chicago television station that she witnessed the molestation by the woman, who was then a camp director, when she was 16, in the cabin that the girls shared. She says that although the woman's hands were under the covers, it was "very clear that's what was happening."

The alleged victim says the woman told her that she was "showing me God's love." The witness agrees that the alleged perpetrator was reciting devotions and "giving a Bible lesson, ironically enough" during the alleged molestation.

The witness says that she did not come forward at the time because the accused woman's parents were in charge of the camp. However, this was not the first sexual abuse accusation leveled at her. The witness says that the church's pastor explained that the young woman was "going through these awful things" and that "this is something we do not want to keep discussing."

Although there is often pressure for people, particularly young people, not to come forward with accusations of sexual assault, the sooner these abusers are stopped, the fewer people they will harm with their molestation. No one has to go it alone. A strong legal team can help ensure that, no matter what the outside pressures are, these perpetrators are brought to justice before they can hurt anyone else, and are made to pay for the harm they have inflicted.

Source: NBC 5 Chicago, "Witness Comes Forward About Former Spiritual Mentor's Alleged Abuse" Rob Stafford, Dec. 18, 2013

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