The Future of SCOTUS • Gospel for Asia's Troubles • Churches Negligent in Child Abuse: News Roundup
This week's headlines that affect churches and church leaders.
The Future of SCOTUS • Gospel for Asia's Troubles • Churches Negligent in Child Abuse: News Roundup

The Potential Effects of Justice Scalia's Passing on the Future of the Court. "[Supreme Court Justice Antonin] Scalia's untimely death Saturday at a Texas ranch leaves an empty seat on the Supreme Court—almost surely for the remainder of the 2015 term, and most likely for the duration of Obama's presidency. While the White House and congressional Democrats would like to fill the seat, their chances of prevailing on those important cases and others improved markedly.
. . .
"Here's a look at the biggest cases pending before the court, their current status, and potential outcome in the wake of Scalia's death. . . ." ("How Scalia's death affects key cases before the Supreme Court this year," Religion News Service).

Gospel for Asia Faces Lawsuit Alleging Misused Donations. "Despite a robust Christmas catalog and other fundraising materials that advertise how donors can support specific needs among Christians in India and other Asian mission fields, '[Gospel for Asia] spent only $14.9 million of $118.9 million on actual relief efforts, instead spending far more on salaries and overhead for Believers Church and construction of the GFA headquarters,' claims [a] lawsuit, reviewed by CT [that contradicts GFA's claims of spending 100 percent of donations in the filed]. . . . GFA told CT it will 'respond accordingly and transparently' once it has studied the allegations. On its website, the ministry stated it has been 'grieved to discover that too many [journalists and bloggers] have chosen to consider us "guilty until proven innocent" as opposed to "innocent until proven guilty"'" ("Lawsuit Claims Gospel for Asia Misused Most Donations to 10/40 Window," Christianity Today).

California Couple Accused of $7.4 Million Church Finance Fraud. "Jonathan Chang, 60, and Grace Chang, 57, of Cupertino, were accused in a nine-count wire fraud and money laundering indictment issued under seal on February 4. . . . Jonathan Chang was formerly an elder of the Home of Christ Church 4 in Saratoga, California, from about 2002 to 2011, with responsibility for managing the church's finances, according to the indictment. Grace Chang assisted him with correspondence and other tasks, the document said. . . . The charges against the pair include one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud by bilking the church and a foreign donor, identified only by the initials C.W., of a total of $7.4 million between 2004 and January 2016" ("Silicon Valley Couple Accused of $7.4 Million Fraud Against Local Church, Donor," Menlo Park-Atherton Patch).


Church Under Fire over Child Rape Case. "Now on track for a trial date in April 2017, the attorneys for the family of a 3-year-old rape victim now plan to move forward with discovery in a Williamson County Circuit Court lawsuit that alleges negligence and infliction of emotional distress by a Brentwood, Tennessee, church. On August 24, 2014, a 3-year-old boy was sexually assaulted in a bathroom at Fellowship Baptist Church by a teenage worker in the church's toddler classroom. . . . The teenage predator in the case was ultimately charged for the crime and plead guilty to aggravated sexual battery. Now the family is seeking damages against the church, including a not-to-exceed claim of $22.5 million.
. . .
"Barnett said that they will next begin taking depositions of the church leadership, asking questions that must be answered under oath while a court reporter records the questions and answers. The defense also aims to take depositions of the mother and father of the victim, according to Barnett" ("Plaintiffs in Fellowship Bible Church rape case pursuing April 2017 jury trial," BrentwoodHomePage.com).


Church Faces Lawsuit Accusing Negligence in Child Predator's Employment. "[Matthew] Graziotti's arrest in July 2014 shocked parents whose children attended Warner Christian Academy in South Daytona. Graziotti lived in Edgewater, Florida, and had worked at Warner Christian since 2005 as a teacher and was director of its summer camp when he was arrested. Graziotti pleaded guilty in October 2014 to a nine-count federal indictment in which seven of the counts listed individual victims [of child sexual abuse]. The FBI found folders in Graziotti's computer titled 'personally known' with 41 sub-folders with boys' names. The investigation found 8,761 images in Graziotti's computer, many depicting the 'sexual abuse and exploitation of prepubescent males.' The lawsuit filed Monday lists five counts against Edgewater Alliance Church and Warner Christian Academy: negligence, negligent hiring, negligent retention, negligent supervision and invasion of privacy," ("7th lawsuit filed over abuse by sexual predator teacher Matthew Graziotti," The Daytona Beach News-Journal).


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