Pastors, Church Member Charged In Ritualistic Beating

Oklahoma's News Channel/August 29, 2003

Tulsa -- A pair of Tulsa County pastors and another person are charged with assault and battery after being accused in the ritualistic beating of a church member.

It allegedly happened at Harmony Worship Center Church, where Pastor Janice Turner and parishioner Tammy Britton each face two charges of assault and battery. Pastor William Kelman faces one count. They also are accused, along with Pastors Robert Turner and Karla Kelman, of failing to report the sexual abuse of a two-year-old child.

According to the Tulsa World, police say they began investigating the incident last month after the Department of Human Services contacted them.

Detective Darren Carlock says during their investigation into allegations of lewd molestation, they found that pastors allegedly knew about the abuse, but had not made a report to either DHS or authorities.

The Tulsa World report says the alleged ritualistic beating took place after the father of the alleged victim confessed to watching pornography. The man said he was assaulted on two occasions during a ritual known as "discipling the flesh". The man did not confess to abusing the child.

Detective Carlock says the child's mother allegedly confessed to molesting the child several times. Last November, the child's parents and the Turners decided the Turners should take custody of the child.

Carlock says they discovered that there were other parishioners who witnessed the beatings and that there were also two others who said they were beaten during similar rituals.

Thursday, warrants were issued for the Turners, William and Karla Kelman as well as Tammy Britton. Bond was set at 100-thousand dollars for each except Britton, who had bond set at 10-thousand dollars.

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