Church abuse lawsuit filed in Santa Barbara

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Louis Bristol (left) and Jeff Peterson-Davis (right) Source: Independent
Louis Bristol (left) and Jeff Peterson-Davis (right) Source: Independent (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

A Santa Barbara area Presbyterian church is being forced to defend itself against sexual abuse claims. A former parishioner at Carpinteria Community Church filed a lawsuit accusing the church and its corporate parents of routinely ignoring and covering up sexual abuse.

The plaintiff in the case says a youth minister preyed upon her as a teenager. The Santa Barbara Independent reports the youth minister, Louis Bristol, went to jail after pleading guilty to crimes he committed against two other girls.

Tim Hale, attorney for the alleged victim, claims that there were other abuses within Santa Barbara’s Presbyterian community. According to Hale, pastor and youth minister Jeff Peterson-Davis has molested at least five male victims and nevertheless been protected by church leaders.

Tyler Hayden is covering the story for the Santa Barbara Independent. He spoke with KCRW’s Lisa Osborn this week on Morning Edition.