A Covington man claims that his pastor abused his position of trust by stealing the man's wife and children.
Zuriel D. Turk makes that claim in a lawsuit filed Friday in Kenton Circuit Court.
According to the lawsuit, Turk and his wife, Amy, were members of the Covington Baptist Temple, whose pastor, William Frey, was counseling them.
The Turks and their four children lived in an apartment on the church property on Holman Avenue in Covington.
In March 2005, Turk started looking for a new house for his growing family. Frey objected, however, and to give them more space, opened another apartment above the one they were living in.
"I am your pastor, and God didn't tell me to let you leave," he said, according to Turk. "If you need more space, we'll open the upstairs apartment for you."
Turk came home from work many times and found his wife alone with Frey in the apartment. The children were forced to play outside when Frey was inside.
According to the lawsuit, on July 21, 2005, the Turks wedding anniversary, Frey moved Amy Turk and the Turk children into his home and forced Zuriel Turk to hand over his house keys.
He told Turk: "You are going to quietly disappear. Your children are mine now, and your wife is mine now."
He also told Turk he needed to divorce his wife and give her full custody of their children. Otherwise, he would "blackmail" Turk with his knowledge of Turk's previous casual drug use.
He also demanded that Turk give him $250 a week to share with Amy Turk.
According to the lawsuit, Turk has seen his family four times since then and is no longer a member of the church.
Frey could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday evening.
The lawsuit says he used his position as a marriage counselor to develop a relationship with Amy Turk and separate her from her husband.
"He took control of these people's lives like he was a cult leader," said Zuriel Turk's attorney, Eric Deters.
In the divorce proceedings, Amy Turk has accused her husband of inappropriately touching their children's privates, Deters said.
But Mr. Turk touched the children's privates only when he was washing them, something that he said his wife had an aversion to, Deters said.
Covington police are investigating the allegations, but no charges have been filed, Deters said.
"In my opinion, this is a classic case of 'Let's say something terrible about somebody in order to gain an upper hand in a divorce proceeding,'" Deters said.
He said he plans to sue Amy Turk, in Kenton Circuit Court on Monday, for abuse of process for making the allegations.