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Were you or a loved one sexually abused by Joseph Jermaine Spencer, a former assistant pastor and choir director at Mountain View Community Church in Temecula, California? Our experienced sexual abuse attorneys are here to help. Thanks to California’s strong tradition of civil law, you have powerful legal rights, with the ability to pursue a private civil lawsuit. Learn more from our team, including about a Mormon sexual abuse lawsuit.
Joseph Jermaine Spencer sexually assaulted at least two young girls during his time as an assistant pastor at Mountain View Community Church, having met the girls at the church. He has been punished twice for his actions by the criminal justice system, pleading guilty to sex crimes in 2008 and again in 2011. In 2011, he was sentenced to three years in a Riverside County jail, though he has not been required to register as a sex offender.
Similar Case: Mormon Church Settles Five-Year Childhood Sex Abuse Lawsuit
Spencer has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting at least two young girls who he met in his role as assistant pastor at Mountain View Community Church. In 2008, he pleaded guilty to having unlawful sex with a 15-year-old girl from Fontana, admitting that he met the young victim at his church. He was sentenced to four years of probation and 180 days in jail.
Spencer next came to the attention of authorities in 2011, after a member of his choir reported that she had been sexually assaulted to her school counselor. Spencer, then 26, was soon placed in police custody. He ultimately pleaded guilty to charges of unlawful sex with a minor and penetration with an object, receiving a sentence of 3 years in jail.
Neither Mountain View Community Church nor the Southern Baptist Convention have been held accountable for their putative roles in the misconduct. As for Mountain View Community Church, church officials in Temecula have denied previous knowledge of Spencer’s first arrest, saying they are “committed to providing a safe and appropriate environment for our Church community.” But police reports drafted at the time appear to tell a very different story.
Court records filed in San Bernardino County suggest that Mountain View Community Church pastor John Wells was present during Spencer’s arrest. In fact, police say Spencer admitted to the sexual misconduct in front of Wells, answering “yes” when Wells asked, “this is like a statutory rape thing?” This is troubling evidence. If Mountain View Community Church was in fact aware of Spencer’s prior arrest, why was nothing done to distance him from the many young girls in the church’s choir?
Police records show that Joseph Jermaine Spencer made a habit of preying on underage girls at his church. There is also evidence that leaders at Mountain View Community Church were aware of Spencer’s first arrest for sexual assault, but failed to sanction him in any way, instead choosing to allow him easy access to more unsuspecting victims. Looming over this entire saga is the conduct of the Southern Baptist Convention, an organization that has for decades neglected to issue a concrete policy on sexual abuse response for local churches.
Legal action may be possible. In a series of new lawsuits, sexual abuse and assault survivors from across the country are suing individual Southern Baptist churches and the Southern Baptist Convention. In court documents, the survivors accuse churches of concealing sexual abuse and assault from the secular authorities and public. These brave men and women say the Southern Baptist Convention has utterly failed to address the problem of sexual abuse, choosing instead to empower dangerous sexual predators by doing nothing.
Were you sexually abused or assaulted by Joseph Jermaine Spencer? You may be eligible to pursue a private civil lawsuit. In filing a California sex abuse lawsuit, you can seek justice, accountability, and financial compensation for the harm you have suffered. You deserved better. We believe you, and we believe that your story deserves to be told.
Learn more about your legal options in a free consultation today. Our dedicated California sexual abuse attorneys are here to support you through this time. You can find more information about your rights at no charge and no obligation. Just contact our attorneys now.