Methodists settle pastor sex abuse suit

Associated Press/August 12, 2006

Long Beach — California United Methodists have agreed to pay a $6.7 million settlement to three men who said a former pastor sexually abused them three decades ago.

Gary Carson-Hull was a youth pastor at Los Altos United Methodist Church when the boys said they had been abused. Carson-Hull was dismissed after a parent of one of the boys complained in 1979.

Carson-Hull was arrested in 2002 after the Los Angeles County district attorney's office charged him with molesting the boys dozens of times. The case was dismissed a year later because it fell outside the statute of limitation for prosecution. The suit was filed the next year when state lawmakers abolished the statute of limitation on civil child sex abuse claims for just one year. The groups sharing the payout cost are the Methodist California-Pacific Conference, based in Pasadena, the California-Nevada Conference based in West Sacramento, the Los Altos church and Walnut Creek United Methodist Church.

Carson-Hull had worked as a youth leader at Walnut Creek while attending the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley in the early 1970s. After completing seminary, he was hired at Los Altos.

Insurance will cover most of the cost, Methodist leaders said in announcing the agreement Aug 3.

Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, leader of the California-Pacific Conference, apologized for the pain the boys suffered and said Methodist churches have since put in place many safeguards to protect children.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.