Woman files suit against church in sex-abuse cover-up

Claim: Leaders knew about boy's abuse but did nothing to stop it

News 2, Denver/September 12, 2007

Loveland -- A mother is demanding justice tonight in what she says is a church cover up. She says her 10-year-old son was molested by a youth leader and claims the church knew the alleged predator had done it before. The boy's mother filed a civil lawsuit Tuesday against the youth leader, the church and three of its pastors, arguing the ministers knew about the sexual abuse and did nothing about it.

The boy's mother spoke to News2, but to protect her son, we're not identifying her. The mother says it was July 3, just over two months ago, inside a small barn, on the grounds of the Gateway Baptist Church in Loveland, that she claims her 10 year old son was sexually assaulted by 23-year old Paul Lavertu, a church youth leader and a man her son loved and trusted.

"I hold my son at night, he cries and he doesn't understand why this happened to him," she said. She claims the church knew about the suspected abuse against her son -- and other kids -- but instead of contacting police, they chose to handle it themselves, by "laying hands" on Lavertu and praying for him.

"When the police department told me that the church had known about this, I was stunned. I was really mad and really hurt. I go to church too and I don't feel my church would ever do anything like that," she said. "I don't understand why, I just want to know why. I want answers and I want someone to tell me why they didn't report it."

So she filed a civil lawsuit Tuesday in hopes the church and it's staff will be held accountable. "I'm hoping that it will give a message that you can't do that. You can't take the law into your own hands. That's what the law is for--to protect the innocent and children."

The boy's mother is also encouraging other parents of victims to come forward and report any suspected abuse by Paul Lavertu. He was arrested and charged with sexual assault on a child and attempted sexual assault. News2 did contact the church for comment on this lawsuit but they did not return our calls.

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