Son accuses Visalia pastor Bob Grenier of sex abuse

The Fresno Bee/February 16, 2013

Visalia - A bitter family feud between mega-church pastor Bob Grenier and his estranged sons escalated this month with a son's claim in court papers that his father sexually molested him as a child.

The allegation by Paul Grenier, 31, is in a statement filed in Tulare County Superior Court in support of his brother Alex Grenier, 41, who is being sued for libel by their parents, Bob and Gayle Grenier. Alex was the first to publicly accuse his father of molesting Paul when he wrote about it online in 2011.

Now, Paul has gone public with the accusation, too. His court statement says that twice when he was 5, "I was forced to perform oral sex on Bob." It also alleges instances of inappropriate touching.

But Paul Grenier has not filed a police report, even though state law allows adults to report alleged sexual abuse that happened when the victim was a minor.

Bob Grenier, pastor of the 550-member Calvary Church Visalia, denies the sex abuse allegations and says they've taken an emotional toll on him.

"That is a bell once rung, cannot be taken back," he wrote in a statement supporting the libel lawsuit. "I struggle daily to deal with the accusation that I molested one of my children."

Another son, Robert Grenier Jr., 29, who has stood by his parents, wrote in his own statement supporting the lawsuit that he never witnessed the alleged sexual abuse or heard about it.

Grenier's lawyer, Nick Pritchett of Visalia, called Paul Grenier's allegations "absolutely untrue."

But Paul Grenier said in an interview Friday he's standing by his story: "Bob Grenier and I know what occurred and if nobody believes me, then so be it. I know the truth and that will always be enough for me."

He said he never wanted to go public because of humiliation and embarrassment, but gave permission for Alex Grenier to post the allegation at his website, and filed the court statement under penalty of perjury to help his brother's defense.

In the statement, he said that he spoke privately with Visalia Police Chief Colleen Mestas in 2010 about Bob Grenier's alleged physical abuse of the brothers when they were boys, and that Mestas asked him if other types of abuse occurred.

"I intimated to Chief Mestas that there was other abuse outside the category of physical and emotional abuse," Paul Grenier says, adding he provided no additional information and did not file a police report.

Mestas said last week she "distinctly" remembers the conversation and that Grenier did not tell her that he was a victim of sexual abuse.

A report must be filed for police to investigate, she said. Grenier's written statement in the lawsuit is not enough to launch an investigation, she said.

Grenier said Friday he has not decided whether to file a police report, saying that he lacked confidence that the allegations would be taken seriously. Under the law, such abuse alleged by someone age 28 or older can be investigated even if the 10-year statute of limitations has passed; prosecutors have one year to file charges.

Alex Grenier said he wants "justice" for his brother.

"I hope he has the strength to press criminal charges," he said.

Bob Grenier said he would welcome a police investigation as an opportunity to have his name cleared.

"I would love for them [Alex and Paul] to go down to the police department today," Grenier said Friday.

Paul hasn't gone to the police with his allegations, but "he's comfortable having his brother blast it all over the world," Gayle Grenier said.

The estrangement between Bob and Gayle Grenier and their sons burst into the open three years ago when Alex and Paul Grenier filed a criminal report with the Visalia Police Department alleging that their father -- a volunteer chaplain at the department -- savagely and routinely beat them as children. They wanted him prosecuted for felony child abuse.

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