Settlement Reached in 2020 Lawsuit Accusing Gateway Church of Failing to Report Minor’s Sexual Assault at Volunteer’s Home

Southlake, Texas – A 2020 lawsuit alleging mishandling of a minor’s sexual assault claim at a church-affiliated sleepover resulted in an out-of-court settlement earlier this year, according to Tarrant County court records. Gateway Church was sued by a former member who claimed church leaders failed to report her daughter’s assault during the 2018 incident properly. The suit claimed the girl, then age 11, was assaulted by the minor son of the couple hosting the sleepover, who were volunteers at Gateway Church. Allegations suggested that church officials learned of the incident but struggled to handle it … Read more

Jury Deliberates as Man Self-Represents in Arizona Church Arson Trial, Citing Biblical Defense and Unfair Treatment

TUCSON, Ariz. — The trial of Eric Ridenour, who stands accused of arson targeting two local churches, has reached a critical juncture as jurors commenced deliberations after days of dramatic courtroom testimonies and fervent closing arguments. Ridenour, representing himself in court, faced allegations of setting ablaze St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and First Presbyterian Church in Douglas last year. Prosecutors aimed to cement his guilt with video evidence and eyewitness testimonials which suggested his presence at the crime scenes. Authorities recounted the sequence of events where surveillance footage purportedly captured a blue Pontiac Aztec, consistent with … Read more

Daytona Beach Church Fights Back After City Forces Closure of Vital Food Pantry, Lawsuit Filed

Daytona Beach, Florida – A small congregation in Daytona Beach finds itself at odds with the city’s zoning regulations, leading to the shutdown of its food pantry. Led by Pastor Ben Figueroa, the Seventh Day Baptist Church of Daytona Beach had been operating the pantry every Wednesday, providing assistance to hundreds of community members. However, the city cited a violation of an ordinance and forced the pantry to close its doors. Feeling powerless, the church is now working with attorney Chobee Ebbets to challenge the city’s decision in court. Ebbets, representing the church pro bono, … Read more

Federal Judge Upholds First Amendment Rights, Rules in Favor of Oregon Church in Homeless Meal Service Case

Brookings, Oregon – A federal judge has ruled in favor of a church in a First Amendment case, preventing a southern Oregon city from shutting down the church’s homeless meal service. U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Clarke deemed an ordinance passed by the city of Brookings to be a violation of the religious freedom rights of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church. The church has been providing meals to the homeless since 2009. The ordinance required a permit to serve free food in residential areas and limited the church’s meal services to only two days a week. In … Read more