Were Sexual Allegations Against Mount Zion Bishop Ever Resolved?
Joseph Walker III, “the charismatic pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Nashville, Tenn.,” has just been appointed the new presiding bishop of The Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship, an association of churches from various denominations that affirm on-going spiritual gifts. But has his sexual misconduct charges been dealt with appropriately?
Once I saw Walker’s name, I was immediately reminded of a sexual misconduct lawsuit filed against him recently in which he was accused of luring women in the church into sex as a means of “getting closer to God.” As far as I found, one lawsuit was dismissed only because the statute of limitations had run out (the alleged victim simply waited too long to bring the case to light). There is no indication that these allegations, reportedly made by at least four women, were ever fully investigated.
The Nashville City Paper reported in Dec. 13 2012:
A Nashville judge on Thursday morning dismissed allegations levied against Mt. Zion Baptist Church’s Bishop Joseph Walker III by a former parishioner.
Davidson County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Brothers granted Walker’s motion for summary judgment based on the one-year statute of limitations on tort claims, freeing him from allegations of sexual assault, battery, fraud, false imprisonment and other claims filed against him by Valencia Batson.
Batson had claimed the last physical or verbal contact with Walker was in January 2005, meaning the suit filed last January was six years past the statute of limitations.
The lawsuit claimed Walker used his position as a pastor to convince numerous women to have sex with him in order to become “closer to God.” Batson also claimed Walker intimidated her and forced her to keep the misconduct quiet.
Batson’s attorney Connie Allison attempted to argue that coercion on the part of Walker and other Mt. Zion employees caused her client to develop post traumatic stress disorder — and that the statute of limitations should have started when she finally came forward with the allegations.
The Tennessean also reported on Dec. 4, 2012:
On Sunday, Bishop Joseph Walker told members of his congregation at Mt. Zion Baptist Church that if they waited and had faith, God would deliver them from their troubles.
On Monday, Walker learned he might have to wait longer for his own to be over.
Two former church members sued Walker earlier this year, accusing him of using his authority to engage in sexual misconduct. One lawsuit was dismissed in November, and the attorney for the other plaintiff filed court documents to withdraw that suit.
But the attorney for former church member Valencia Batson filed an amended lawsuit Monday that includes intimate details of her alleged sexual relationship with Walker, as well as accusations of financial misdeeds at the church.
“This is not over,” said Connie Allison, Batson’s attorney. “It is not going away.”
A spokesman for Mt. Zion declined to comment on the new claims. In the past, the church has called the charges against Walker ridiculous.
Monday’s filing is the latest twist in the lawsuit first filed by Batson in February. Her initial suit alleged that Walker used his position to sexually abuse her, but it included few details.
Court documents show Walker’s attorneys argued that Batson’s suit should be dismissed in part because of the lack of details. They also claimed the statute of limitations had passed on some claims.
The amended suit claims abuse began after Batson began attending the megachurch in 1998.
According to the complaint, Batson was recently divorced and struggling to get by as a single parent with three children. She claims that Walker said being close to him would bring her close to God.
Batson says Walker asked her, “Would you do anything for me?” and then asked her to perform a sex act in the church.
Batson alleges she and Walker had sex at Mt. Zion’s locations at 1112 Jefferson St. in Nashville and 7594 Old Hickory Blvd. in Whites Creek. She says she was coerced into group sexual encounters with Walker and other church leaders in his office, sometimes after Bible study.
The complaint also names Walker’s brother Jerry Luren White, overseer of financial affairs at Mt. Zion, and the Rev. Michael E. Williams, pastor of Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in Nashville.
Williams was arrested and charged with soliciting a prostitute during a police sting Sept. 7. That case was dismissed Nov. 14.
Here’s a news video report from March 31, 2012:
Christ Culture News is not trying to drudge up old news or allegations, but considering the scope of the claims and that Bishop Walker now has been given such a high appointment in which he will be responsible for even more people, shouldn’t there have been an investigation ANYWAY despite the lawsuits being dismissed?
If these women are all liars, an internal investigation would surely affirm Bishop Walker as worthy of his post.
Learn more about Walker at his official website.
The full news on Walker’s appointment:
The Official Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship Int’l Fan Page
The Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship Announces Leadership Succession
Founder and International Presiding Bishop Paul S. Morton to retire in 2015
ATLANTA, GA (June 28, 2013) – After 20 years of leading the fastest growing gospel movement in the country, Bishop Paul S. Morton announces his selection of Bishop Joseph W. Walker, III as the next leader of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International (FGBCFI) effective June 2015.
Bishop Joseph W. Walker, III has served as the Senior Pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church located in Nashille, Tennessee.
Bishop Morton shares, “I’m grateful to pass the torch at this pivotal time in my life and this movement’s existence. For the past 20 years I was a committed leader. In 2015 I have the honor of following. It’s going to be a joy to continue to serve God by following Bishop Joseph W. Walker, III. ”
Under Bishop Morton’s leadership, FGBCFI has grown to over 800 member churches located in the United States and in 13 foreign countries. Throughout the years, they have fed thousands, rebuilt communities, provided spiritual and empowerment training to their members and communities around the world.
About Full Gospel
The birth of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship, International is in essence Founded in 1994, the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International, Inc. is one of the fastest growing Fellowship representing more than 150,000 leaders of faith, made up of over 2,000 churches, and constituents, partners, and associates in the U.S. and throughout the world. Along with its Founder and Presiding Bishop Paul S. Morton, the Fellowship is led by its Executive Council, the membership of which is comprised of Bishop Neil Ellis, Second Presiding and Bishop Clarence McClendon; Third Presiding. Its key initiatives include church, people and community development, leadership and entrepreneurial growth, economic development, foreign missions, and growth for generations X, Y, and Z. Learn more at www.fullgospelconference.org.
For updates visit our social media platforms: Twitter @FGBCF and Facebook.com/fullgospel. For complete registration information, please visit: www.fullgospelconference.org
For media inquires, interviews and event information, please contact Robin Ware, The Ware Agency – ATLANTA.
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