Suit accuses pastor of firing couple after impregnating the ,,man's wife

August 13, 1994|By Tanya Jones | Tanya Jones,Sun Staff Writer

The minister of a Northwest Baltimore church is the target of a lawsuit filed yesterday charging him with impregnating a secretary at a church-run school, then firing the woman and her husband, a teacher at the school.

In a suit filed in Baltimore Circuit Court, Marvin and Ernestine Council are each seeking $2.4 million in compensatory and punitive damages. Named as defendants are David Harold Brown, pastor of New Destiny Christian Center in the 4200 block of Primrose Ave., and Help International Inc., the corporation that runs the church and employs Mr. Brown.

The lawsuit contends that about four weeks after the couple, both church members, began marriage counseling with the pastor in October, he "summoned" Mrs. Council to a hotel and "initiated a sexual relationship" with her.

The suit alleges that the minister impregnated Mrs. Council during a relationship that lasted until February.

According to the lawsuit, when he learned that Mrs. Council was pregnant, Mr. Brown fired her and her husband, ordering them never to return to the school or the church.

The suit alleges that the church "was on notice as to the . . . propensities of defendant David Brown related to sexual misconduct with church members, due to notification of such propensities by other church members."

The suit also accuses the church of failing to "adequately supervise and monitor" the pastor's behavior and with failing to investigate his background.

The suit claims that the minister and the church misrepresented his qualifications as a marriage counselor and "knew or should have known" that "damage would result from contact between plaintiffs and [Mr.] Brown."

Efforts to reach Mr. Brown were unsuccessful yesterday. But church officials issued a statement supporting him.

Tomorrow, Mr. Brown and his wife, Sharon Brown, and Archbishop Benson Idahosa are scheduled to attend a worship service at the church.

Mr. Brown is expected to address the congregation "in $l repentance and restoration for sins of infidelity," according to a statement released yesterday by New Destiny Christian Center, formerly Living Word Christian Center.

The statement describes Mrs. Brown as co-pastor of the church and the archbishop as its "spiritual authority."

"Church leadership including elders, ministers and deacons were informed of the situation in March of '94 and unanimously agreed to forgive, restore and retain their pastor. The congregation of some 2,000 members is expected to respond similarly," the press release stated.

Beverly A. Wallace, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, yesterday declined to elaborate on the allegations.

"I don't want to divulge their sources or the people that have talked to me," Ms. Wallace said.

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