* * * For Immediate Release * * *
December 12, 2016
A teenage male filed a civil lawsuit today in Lewis County Circuit Court against the Vanceburg Christian Church. The suit alleges that the Plaintiff (referred to as “John Doe”) was sexually abused by former Pastor Duncan Aker between 2007 and 2010 when the victim was between 9 and 12 years old.
In March of 2016, former Vanceburg Christian Church Pastor Duncan D. Aker Jr. pleaded guilty to five counts of first degree sexual abuse for his abuse of the Plaintiff in today’s lawsuit.
The lawsuit explains that the Plaintiff met Akers when the Plaintiff was a young “latch-key” child who lived near the church and was invited by Pastor Akers to come to the Church. The Plaintiff then began going to the church regularly after school and on the weekends, according to the complaint. Akers used these opportunities to “groom” the Plaintiff and make him susceptible to the sexual abuse. According to the lawsuit, “between late 2007 and early 2010 . . . when Plaintiff was 9-12 years old and Aker was 56-59 years old, Aker brutally and repeatedly sexually molested and raped Plaintiff . . . at the Church as well as at locations off the site where Aker would take Plaintiff.” The lawsuit says that Aker threatened Plaintiff not to tell anyone and used his position in the Church to intimidate Plaintiff.
“There is no question that this young boy was severely and repeatedly sexually abused by this Pastor – the Pastor pleaded guilty in the criminal case. In this case, we intend to prove that Vanceburg Christian Church is responsible for the long-lasting impacts that will flow from the abuse by its Pastor,” said Konrad Kircher, one of the attorneys for the victim in today’s suit. Kircher has handled sexual abuse cases throughout the mid-west, including a large number of cases in Ohio against the Roman Catholic Church.
The lawsuit alleges that, as a result of the molestation and rapes by Aker, the victim – “John Doe” – has “suffered depression, anxiety, suicide attempts, humiliation, anger, shame, pain and suffering damages, medical and counseling expenses, lost wages and lost earning capacity, and will continue to suffer such damages in the future.”
The lawsuit alleges that Vanceburg Christian Church’s negligence allowed the abuse of the victim. Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that religious organizations knew by 2007 that it was common for religious leaders to “ abuse their authority and molest children.” Based on that knowledge, the lawsuit alleges that the Church had a duty to protect young parishioners from clergy sexual abuse. However, the victim alleges that the Church “was negligent regarding its obligations” because the Church “was aware, or should have been aware, of Aker’s harmful conduct and/or molestations of Plaintiff” and failed to act to stop the abuse.
“At the center of this case is the question: what did Vanceburg Christian Church know about Akers activities and when did they know it? It is important for the entire community that the whole truth come about this situation,” said Peter Janci, attorney for the victim.
The lawsuit also asserts claims for breach of fiduciary duty and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Attorneys for the victim say the teenager is “currently stable” but has been “profoundly affected” by the abuse.
Attorneys for the victim say they are worried that John Doe is not Aker’s only victim. “It took a lot of courage for our client to speak out about what happened to him; at times, he has felt very alone. But, unfortunately, pedophiles usually have multiple victims. We are concerned that there may be other children out there who were abused by Akers. We hope than any other children or parents who have information about abuse by Akers will come forward as a show of support for our young client,” said attorney Bruce MacDonald of Greenup, Kentucky, who is part of the victim’s legal team.
# # #
Read more about Duncan D. Aker, Jr. here:
- Lawsuit to be filed against Vanceburg Christian Church
- Victim sues Lewis County church for sexual abuse
- Aker sentenced in sexual abuse case
Read the full complaint here.
If you or someone you care about was sexually abused and you would like advice from an attorney about the rights and options for victims of child sexual abuse, please contact Crew Janci LLP today for a free, confidential consultation at 1-888-407-0224 or by using our private online form. We will treat you with discretion and respect.