LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Two additional people have filed a civil lawsuit against the Living Word Fellowship Church, alleging they were repeatedly sexually assaulted by church leaders when they were minors.
The new Los Angeles Superior Court suit, filed July 22, alleges negligence and sexual assault and battery. The plaintiffs seek triple damages.
The suit follows earlier cases brought by three other people against the church in May 2019, one in Los Angeles Superior Court and two in San Diego Superior Court.
A church representative could not be immediately reached.
The new plaintiffs, Kristina Pfeifer and Shalom Caples, say they were sexually abused on numerous occasions as children over several years while they were members of the Living Word Church and religious school in North Hills.
“Kristina, Shalom and the plaintiffs in our other lawsuits are brave survivors who have stepped forward to tell their stories of the rampant sexual abuse suffered by what could be hundreds of children who were under the control of the Living Word Fellowship leaders including those at the highest level of the organization,'' plaintiffs' attorney Irwin Zalkin said. “This is a story of an insular communal cult in our community that was led by male pedophile predators who used their positions of power to subjugate women and prey on children, ruining their lives forever.''
In the complaint, Caples alleges sexual assaults that occurred from age 8 through her teen years by two different adult church leaders. During this time, Caples was under the control of church leaders while she worked doing church duties and was living at the church compound in Iowa, the suit states.
In 2018, Caples posted a letter on social media that revealed the alleged pervasive sexual abuse perpetrated and condoned by Fellowship Church leadership, the suit states.
Pfeifer was born and raised in the fellowship until she was 13 years old and her family left. The complaint details two series of alleged sexual assaults of Pfeifer by two perpetrators who were church leaders. During this time, she was forced to work for church businesses and operations and was exposed as a minor to a highly sexualized environment behind the scenes of the church, including parties for fellowship members, the suit states.