Churches protected predator, suit says

Pair allege sexual abuse at Post Falls, Rathdrum sites

The Spokesman-Review, Idaho/April 16, 2011

Two North Idaho churches are accused of concealing and protecting a known child sexual predator who sexually assaulted boys in both congregations, according to a lawsuit filed this week in Kootenai County District Court.

Anthony L. Iglesias is serving time in the Idaho State Correctional Institution after being convicted of sexually abusing two Kootenai County brothers in 2003.

The two churches are part of an international fellowship of nondenominational churches based in Santa Ana, Calif. Calls to both churches were not returned Friday.

Iglesias worked for the Calvary Chapel, 15095 N. McCartney St., in Rathdrum, and the North Country Chapel, 2281 W. Seltice Way, in Post Falls, according to the lawsuit filed on behalf of two men who say they also were abused by Iglesias when they were children under the age of 16.

Alex McIntosh, 22, says he was sexually abused by Iglesias while he attended North Country Chapel.

Nicholas Rutler, 22, says in the lawsuit that he was sexually abused by Iglesias while he attended both North Country and Calvary Chapel.

Their lawsuit alleges that the churches knew or should have known Iglesias was a child predator because years before, a Calvary Chapel in California denied him access to children because he had been convicted as a minor of improper sexual conduct with a younger boy.

In addition, Iglesias had been recalled from a religious mission for North Country Chapel at an orphanage in Thailand.

The plaintiffs allege the churches acted in concert with Iglesias to hide his history of pedophilia.

McIntosh says that while he attended North Country Chapel youth activities he was groomed for sex and sexually abused by Iglesias, who was either a paid employee or volunteer for the church's youth ministry.

When McIntosh's parents went to North County Chapel's pastor, the Rev. Robert Davis, to discuss their son's sexual abuse, Davis acknowledged he knew of Iglesias' history, "stating words to the effect, ‘Yeah, we knew. That's why we pulled him out of Thailand,'?" according to the lawsuit.

Rutler says he was groomed for sex and sexually abused by Iglesias, who also worked in youth ministries for Calvary Chapel whose representatives at the time – the Rev. Ray Duran, Paul Duran and Colette Duran – knew Iglesias engaged in inappropriate behavior with children, according to the lawsuit.

Named in the lawsuit are Davis and the Rev. Cory Kirkham, current pastor of Calvary Chapel.

In April 2004, Iglesias was convicted of three counts of lewd conduct with twin 14-year-old brothers. He was sentenced to eight years on each of two counts and three years on one count.

In 2008, Kyle and Kory Larabee filed suit against Iglesias and Calvary Chapel over their abuse. That case also is pending in Kootenai County District Court.

Coeur d'Alene attorney Leander James, who represents all four plaintiffs in both lawsuits, said the cases are about the responsibility of institutions to safeguard youth.

"Predators are put in jail, and I don't believe you can change their mindset," James said. "But you can change the behavior of institutions charged with the protection of children."

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