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Abuse Guardians
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Salisbury, MD – In a disturbing turn of events, the Wicomico Child Advocacy Center announced the arrest of three men on various child sex abuse charges, including rape, sexual abuse of a minor, and indecent exposure. The investigation, which began in November 2023, has uncovered a troubling pattern of abuse within a local church.

According to the Child Advocacy Center, the three men – Jessie Lee Scott, Major Leslie Purnell Sr., and Alonzo Leon Parker Jr. – were all affiliated with the New Dimension Family Ministries located at 1907 Jersey Rd, Salisbury, MD 21801. The men had regular access to children in their roles at the church.

Church Employees Charged With Sexually Abusing Children

Jessie Lee Scott and Major Leslie Purnell Sr. were indicted by a Wicomico County Grand Jury on February 26th, 2024, on charges including rape, sexual abuse of a minor, multiple sexual offenses, sexual solicitation of a minor, indecent exposure, and assault. Each man faces over twenty charges.

Further investigation led to the arrest of Alonzo Leon Parker Jr. on April 4th. Parker was charged with child abuse, multiple counts of 3rd and 4th-degree sexual offense, 2nd-degree assault, perverted practice, and sodomy. The victim identified Parker as a “church administrator” as well as “second in command.”

Multiple Victims Identified – High Possibility of Additional Victims

Wicomico County State’s Attorney Jamie Dykes stated that multiple victims have already been identified, but she fears there may be more. “In my experience there always are,” said Dykes, “So we are looking to identify anyone who has been a victim.”

Dykes and the Wicomico Child Advocacy Center are urging anyone with possible information or who may have been a victim to come forward. “I’ve never heard a victim say that they regret making the disclosure, they regret facing their offender,” said Dykes. “I would encourage people, it’s cathartic to relieve themselves of that burden, they don’t stand alone.”

Institutional Abuse Within Local Salisbury Church

The Wicomico Child Advocacy Center has described this as a case of “institutional abuse,” as the accused individuals were in positions of trust and authority within the church. Dykes stated that they are also looking for more suspects, as the “truth leads us to more suspects, more defendants.”

The investigation is ongoing, and the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with further information to contact them at 410-548-4898. The community is urged to remain vigilant and support the victims as this disturbing case unfolds.

Holding Negligent Churches Accountable for Church Abuse

The shocking allegations of child sexual abuse at the New Dimension Family Ministries in Salisbury have left the community reeling. To provide insight into the legal options available for victims of church abuse, we sat down with Aaron Blank, Esq., an experienced Maryland church abuse lawyer who has represented numerous victims in similar cases. In the following interview, Blank discusses the civil and criminal avenues for seeking justice, as well as the steps victims can take to protect their rights and recover damages from the abusers and the church.

Laurence Banville, Esq. (LB): Mr. Blank, thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. As an experienced church abuse lawyer, what are the legal rights and options available to victims who have been abused by a church employee?

Aaron Blank, Esq. (AB): Victims of sexual abuse by church personnel have several legal avenues they can pursue. First and foremost, they may be able to file civil claims against the abusers themselves. Additionally, if the church failed to screen, train, or supervise the staff properly, the victims may also have grounds to hold the church accountable through a civil lawsuit.

LB: Can you elaborate on how a victim might be able to hold the church responsible for the abuse?

AB: Churches have a duty of care to protect the children and vulnerable individuals in their charge. If the church was negligent in its hiring, oversight, or response to reports of abuse, it could be held liable for the harm caused to the victims. This could include recovering damages for the emotional, psychological, and physical trauma the victims have endured.

LB: What advice would you give to anyone who has been a victim of church abuse?

AB: I would strongly urge them to come forward and speak with law enforcement or a qualified attorney as soon as possible. Time is of the essence in these cases, and victims have important rights that need to be protected. An experienced lawyer can guide them through the process, ensure their voice is heard, and help them seek the justice and accountability they deserve.

LB: Thank you, Mr. Blank, for providing this information.

AB: You’re welcome. I hope this information empowers any victims to come forward and get the support and representation they need to achieve the justice they deserve.

Seeking Justice For Church Sex Abuse? Contact Us for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one have been the victim of sexual abuse by a church employee, you have legal rights and options. Our team of sexual abuse attorneys is dedicated to fighting for the rights of abuse survivors and holding negligent institutions accountable. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation to discuss your case and learn how we can help you seek the justice and compensation you deserve.


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