By Victor Ochieng
A woman has accused a bishop attached to one of the biggest African American Christian churches of s*xually molesting her for two decades.
Kimberly Pollard, 37, filed a $12.2 million lawsuit against Bishop James L’Keith Jones and the Church of God in Christ (COGIC), accusing the megachurch of condoning her 20-year defilement at the hands of a high-ranking spiritual leader. In the lawsuit, Pollard states that Jones groomed her into a serious s*xual relationship and extra-marital affair that lasted for two decades. Even more disheartening for her is the fact that the bishop was grooming her 6-year-old daughter for a future s*xual affair, telling her she’s s*xy and that he had to wait till she turns 18 years before dating her.
According to the woman, her relationship with the Bishop started just like any other but turned s*xual in 1995 or thereabout, when she was still a minor.
Pollard, who hails from Lubbock, Texas, says Jones used his religious position to lure her into an illicit s*xual act during a Holy Convocation that took place in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Following that act, Jones continued to have a s*xual relationship with Pollard even as he rose in ranks in the church.
Jones, who’s currently a COGIC bishop, would later marry another woman, but didn’t end his s*xual relationship with Pollard, according to the lawsuit.
Further, Pollard says she tried to end their illicit relationship on several occasions and even suggested confessing in church, but Jones boasted that no one would believe her due to his status in the church. He told her that should she confess, she’d be the one to end up with egg on her face.
Pollard wasn’t comfortable in her relationship with the pastor, and six years ago, she became pregnant with another man, a development that made Jones very irate, telling her she’d violated their trust.
In February this year, Bishop Jones sent a video to Pollard’s six-year-old daughter, saying, “You look very ‘s*xy’ in your night gown.” This is when Pollard realized that Jones was trying to groom her daughter, the same thing he did to her.
The Grievance Committee of the church’s Board of Bishops was made aware of the incident and they set a trial date for Jones but would later recant the decision, which, according to Pollard, is against the board’s rules and procedures.
In her lawsuit, Pollard says, “They knew or should have known of the illicit conduct that Bishop Jones was engaging in with Plaintiff Pollard because a basic investigation would have revealed these facts.”
She says the kind of experience Jones put her through has caused her and her daughter serious and irreparable emotional, psychological and physical damage
Broken down, Pollard is demanding $6 million in non-economic damages, $100, 000 in economic damages and $6.1 million in damages caused to her daughter.
COGIC boasts of over 6 million members and has 12,000 congregations and churches in every U.S. state and 70 countries spread across different continents.