Pastor ignored warnings about runaway convert, affidavit says

Associated Press/December 23, 2009

Columbus - The former administrator of a Florida church says a pastor ignored several warnings that he was violating the law by helping a teen who had fled Ohio after converting to Christianity.

In an affidavit filed in Franklin County juvenile court yesterday, Brian Smith says he was told at a July staff meeting that 17-year-old Rifqa Bary feared her parents would kill her for leaving Islam.

He says he later spoke with Bary at the home of the Rev. Blake Lorenz of Orlando-based Global Revolution Church, and that she did not say her father "was going to kill her."

Smith says Lorenz ignored his advice as well as the advice of lawyers, a judge and police to contact the Florida Department of Children and Families about the girl.

A Florida police investigation found no credible threats to the girl.

An attorney for Lorenz says the affidavit is inaccurate and Smith is a disgruntled former employee. He says Lorenz contacted the Florida Department of Children and Families about Bary three times in two weeks.

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