As has been reported over the last several days, my law firm represents a young woman who was repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted by Joshua Markelwitz, a youth pastor at the Charlton Methodist Church in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Ben recently appeared on the local news to discuss the case; you can see his interview here.
Last year, Markelwitz was convicted of a host of sex crimes related to his abuse, and was sentenced to 12-24 years in prison. There is no question, then, that the abuse happened, and that it was truly terrible. As our lawsuit alleges, on one occasion Markelwitz pulled out a gun and threatened to kill the victim’s mother if she ever told anyone about the rapes. Unsurprisingly, Markelwitz’s victim is still struggling with a host of psychological problems.
The case against the church is based on details that are alleged in our lawsuit. First, Church members allegedly complained to Church leadership about Markelwitz’s relationship with the victim only to be frustrated by the church’s lack of response. Second, Markelwitz supposedly flouted the Church’s “safe sanctuary” policies, which are intended to protect kids from abuse, and church leadership knew it. Third, while serving in the military, Markelwitz was convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a crime for he served time in a military prison. If these facts are true, the Church may face liability for Markelwitz abuse of the victim, and the considerable harm she has suffered as a result.
Andreozzi + Foote represents sexual abuse victims in lawsuits against churches for negligently enabling abuse. Our firm is well-known for its work on behalf of sexual abuse victims, including representing 11 of Jerry Sandusky’s victims. We are also representing the families of murdered love ones in several cases. If you believe you or a loved one has been a victim of a crime and are interested in exploring a potential civil lawsuit, please contact me immediately at [email protected].