Church sued over alleged sexual assaults at commune

The Cook County Record/January 22, 2014

By Joel Brakken

A woman is suing, claiming she was sexually assaulted as a child while living at a religious commune.

Heather Kool filed a lawsuit Jan. 9 in the Cook County Circuit Court against The Evangelical Covenant Church and Jesus People USA Covenant Church, citing negligence and voluntary undertaking.

According to the complaint, Kool was born on Jan. 10, 1976, and prior to 1989, lived with a family at the Jesus People USA Commune, where she received schooling, food, clothing and ministry from the defendants’ communal living administration.

Kool claims was sexually assaulted by several residents while living at the commune. She alleges the defendants failed to protect minor residents of the commune, failed to supervise adults and other minors to ensure safety of minor children and failed to implement policies and procedures to protect minor children, among other claims.

She is seeking damages in excess of $50,000 and is being represented by attorneys Thomas K. Prindable, Shannon M. McNulty and Kimberly M. Halvorsen of Clifford Law Offices P.C. and Scott G. Gibson of Gibson & Associates Ltd.

Cook County Circuit Court Case No. 2014L000207.

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed in the Cook County Circuit Court. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note that a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt, and it represents only one side of the story.

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