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Victory Christian Center releases statement about rape allegations

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Updated: 9/17/2012 10:06 am
The Victory Christian Center released a statement regarding allegations of a rape on the Victory Christian Center.

"A tragic incident involving an allegation of rape at the Victory Christian Center campus has been the subject of much media coverage.

On behalf of Victory Christian Center, we fully understand the gravity of these allegations and are working with law enforcement and investigating within our organization to gather all information to address this matter. We are fully committed to the safety of our church family and our campus visitors, and this is not reflective of how we strive to operate.

Victory Christian Center has a written policy that requires any allegation of abuse to be reported by employees to the Department of Human Services, and internally within one hour to their department head and the director of human resources. It appears that this policy was not followed by the employees initially involved, and the allegations were not reported as directed within the required time.

The employees who we found to be aware of the allegation of rape have been suspended while we complete our internal investigation and assess our final disciplinary actions.

We will be asking the state Department of Human Services to partner with us to conduct a full audit of our policy for responding to allegations of child abuse, and will conduct an in-depth review of these procedures with all employees and volunteers.

Victory Christian Center has fully cooperated with the police and their investigation, and we will continue to do so in the future.

Most importantly, our hearts go out to the victims involved, and we ask that your thoughts and prayers be with them and their families. The safety and well-being of anyone who comes on our campuses is extremely important to our ministry. We are deeply saddened and greatly disappointed by this event."

Officials say the employees found to be aware of the allegations and failing to follow the VCC policy to report the allegations to DHS and church leaders have been suspended while the church completes an internal investigation. 

Officials also say VCC will conduct a full audit of their policy for responding to abuse allegations.

Search warrants reveal new information into an investigation into allegations of rape and lewd proposals to a minor at Victory Christian Center.

The mother of one victim spoke to FOX23 about Victory commenting on the case. Brittney said, "I am glad that they have finally admitted that they did wrong, but no there's no satisfaction in it, they should said something to that effect 15 days ago."

According to the warrant the girls met the employees during summer camp, Camp Victory, and continued contact after camp ended using Facebook and cell phones. The warrant says the men also had contact with the girls through their positions at the church.

The warrant shows police were called to the center on August 30th and told the church had information relating to “two sexual indiscretions between junior high females and employees of Victory Christian Center.”

The warrant detailed allegations a 15-year old girl and a VCC employee exchanged sexually explicit comments on Facebook as early as August 11th. Police say church officials told them both the girl and employee admitted to the messages.

Church officials also told police about a 13-year old that had an inappropriate relationship with a church employee on August 13th. Officials told police the girl’s mother had been told about their investigation and that the girl and employee admitted to having a relationship.

The warrant says during a forensic interview the 13-year old said Chris Denman raped her on August 13th prior to a church service. Police say the girl told church leaders about the rape on August 15th and church officials fired the employees on August 15th.

The warrant alleges church leaders waited two weeks to contact the mother of the girls as well as the police about the incidents.

Police said Friday that they have not been able to determine why Victory officials waited to tell authorities.

"No one has been able to give us a solid clear answer as to why there was such a delay in reporting this," Tulsa Police Department Child Crisis Unit Corporal Greg Smith said.

The warrant specifies locations to swab for DNA evidence as well as employee records of the two men and all records and video surveillance from the investigations conducted by Victory Christian Center and contact information for VCC staff.

Tulsa Police say it is possible that staffers who knew about the rape and did not report it could be charged with failure to report. That is something Brittney would like to happen.

"Why is that a law if you're not going to hold them accountable? Why is that even a law? If it's a law, you hold them accountable, they did not do what they were supposed to do."

The Tulsa County District Attorney will make a determination about whether staffers will be charged after police finish their investigation, which could be several weeks.

Chris Denman was charged with first degree rape of a victim under 14, forcible oral sodomy, lewd molestation and the use of a computer to facilitate a sex crime on September 13th.

The investigation is ongoing and Brittney believes the worst is yet to come.

"I am sure we will continue to be shocked by the facts that come continue out on this story, I think we'll just be shocked, saddened and disgusted."
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