Home | Opinion | Religion | The Ridge Church & Pastor Mark Jones who ""released" himself, presumably meaning he masturbated" sued for damages

The Ridge Church & Pastor Mark Jones who ""released" himself, presumably meaning he masturbated" sued for damages

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We reported on this situation back on May 29th 2013, of course everyone claimed we were liars and trying to ruin a good man' reputation. Read the inital submission here

The following is word for word out of the court documents. 

PARTIES, JURISDICTION, AND VENUE

I. Beginning in approximately November 2012, Plaintiff, struggling with depression and her identity, fell victim of sexual misconduct by Pastor Mark Jones of The Ridge of Columbus when seeking guidance and counseling from the church, which is the subject matter of this lawsuit.

2. At all times relevant hereto, Plaintiff, Jane Doe, is and was a resident of Columbus, County of Bartholomew, Indiana.

3. At all times relevant hereto, Defendant, The Ridge of Columbus, is and was an Indiana Non-Profit Domestic Corporation located at 2800 Bonnell Road, Columbus, Indiana 47203.

4. At all times relevant hereto, Defendant, Mark Jones, is and was a resident of Columbus, County of Bartholomew, Indiana.

5. This Court has jurisdiction over the parties pursuant to Indiana Trial Rule 4.4(A). Venue is proper under Indiana Trial Rule 75(A)(3).

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

6. Plaintiff hereby incorporates by reference paragraphs I through 5 of this Complaint as if fully set forth herein.

7. At all times mentioned herein, Plaintiff, Jane Doe, began attending The Ridge of Columbus regularly in April 2012, as a recommendation from a friend.

8. Plaintiff started seeking guidance and counseling in approximately November 2012, for depression and her identity. She set up an anonymous email address by the alias "lostsoulinside92" and emailed The Ridge of Columbus for support and guidance. Pastor Mark Jones responded to her email with a document about depression and various bible verses.

9. As Plaintiff was growing more comfortable with Pastor Mark Jones through the emails he would send her, she chose to introduce herself personally to him in approximately November or December 2012. After the encounter, more emails were exchanged between Pastor Mark Jones and Plaintiff as he encouraged her to attend the "Verve", a Saturday night gathering for people 18-30 years old that involved socializing and worship. The program convened between 8:00 p.m. - 12:00 p.m. He also provided Plaintiff with his mobile phone number.

10. In time, Pastor Mark Jones started emailing Plaintiff about miscellaneous topics other than those she sought guidance and support from The Ridge of Columbus. Pastor Mark Jones began texting the Plaintiff at the mobile number he obtained while arranging counseling appointments about unrelated matters of her concern.

I I. In approximately January 2013, Pastor Mark Jones invited Plaintiff to come over to his house to meet one of his daughter'S friends, which happened to live with Pastor Mark Jones and his wife. He mendaciously represented that the meeting would be good therapy for Plaintiff as it would allow her to meet other friends and socialize. In Plaintiff's utter surprise, Pastor Mark Jones hugged and unexpectedly kissed Plaintiff on her lips during her first visit to his home. This was the first such inappropriate physical touching by Pasta.! Mark Jones.

12. Thereafter, Pastor Mark Jones' behavior became unpredictable and inappropriate, as he would begin texting Plaintiff more often with flirty messages and asked Plaintiff to delete her messages as he did not want The Ridge of Columbus to find out about his emotional and physical affair he started with one of the congregation members.

13. Plaintiff began feeling even more vulnerable and afraid of the actions from Pastor Mark Jones as they were increasingly becoming unsuitable. Plaintiff texted Pastor Mark Jones asking for their relationship to end. Pastor Mark Jones agreed, but he later continued to send her vulgar text messages, including, but not limited to, a text that he had just watched her singing on YouTube, and that he just "released" himself to her video, presumably meaning he masturbated to Plaintiff's video. Additional inappropriate text messages ensued from his mobile phone that was issued by The Ridge of Columbus.

14. On January 30, 2013, Pastor Mark Jones asked Plaintiffifhe could do a photo shoot of her at The Ridge of Columbus. After the photo session, Pastor Mark Jones gave her a pair of earrings. Pastor Mark Jones later told Plaintiff that he pleasured himself and "released" himself to the photographs he had taken of Plaintiff. Pastor Mark Jones also began telling Plaintiff he "loved" her. He frequently asked her to remain at the church after the "Verve" and other church sanctioned gatherings.

15. On or about February 4, 2013, others discovered the relationship Pastor Mark Jones was developing with Plaintiff. As Plaintiff was scared for herself, she confronted Pastor Mark Jones and he asked her to meet with him in private at the Fair Oaks mall parking lot. Pastor Mark Jones comforted her and gave her a bracelet at this meeting.

16. After that meeting, Plaintiff no longer heard from Pastor Mark Jones, and because she was so vulnerable and in a state of depression, she felt as though she failed him and let him down.

17. On February 6, 2013, Plaintiff found a bottle of Vodka and poured it into a water bottle then started drinking it in the parking lot of Target. After she became intoxicated, Plaintiff began cutting herself with a butcher knife to create physical pain to take away the mental anguish. She lost consciousness and later came to in the hospital.

18. As a result of the cutting incident, Plaintiff was admitted to a facility for a mental evaluation.

19. Plaintiff underwent intense counseling and it was revealed Plaintiff was manipulated into trusting Pastor Mark Jones through his position with The Ridge of Columbus. Plaintiff then started making poor decisions based on Pastor Mark Jones' counseling and manipulation as he had significant influence and control over her decision-making.

20. As a result of Pastor Mark Jones and The Ridge of Columbus' negligence, Plaintiff continues to struggle to regain control of her life and has significant stress and anxiety in unfamiliar situations. She is still undergoing counseling.

COUNT I

NEGLIGENT HIRING

21. Plaintiff hereby incorporates by reference paragraphs I through 20 of this Complaint as if fully set forth herein.

22. Defendant, The Ridge of Columbus, negligently hired or retained Mark Jones as pastor at The Ridge of Columbus, and did not use reasonable care in the hiring or the retention of Mark Jones. Levinson v. Citizens Nat. Bank, 644 N.E2d 1264 (Ind. Q. App.I994).

23. The Ridge of Columbus failed to use reasonable care and diligence in hiring Mark Jones, as he clearly was not the appropriate candidate for pastor at The Ridge of Columbus.

24. Furthermore, The Ridge of Columbus negligently retained Mark Jones as a Pastor from 2010 to his termination in the Spring of2013. In early 2010, Mark Jones gave a sermon at The Ridge of Columbus disclosing his sexual deviant behavior. Mark Jones disclosed in a sermon that "his monster" or addiction was to pornography. He explained to the members about how "mesmerized" he was when he was a young boy the first time he saw a pornographic magazine. He said he can still vividly see the pornographic picture in his mind that day of the sermon.

25. Mark Jones also stated that he asked the Ridge of Columbus to put pass codes on all church computers so he would not misuse the computers to look at pornography. The Ridge of Columbus obliged according to Pastor Mark Jones. The aforementioned should have been a red flag to his employer, The Ridge of Columbus. Further, Pastor Mark Jones personally subscribes to "covenant eyes" which is an Internet accountability website so that someone he trusts can view the websites he visits. This is intended to deter Pastor Mark Jones from "his monster." This was openly disclosed to The Ridge of Columbus and its members in 2010, several years before Defendant's contact with the Plaintiff.

26. Additionally, in May 2010, Mark Jones gave the same sermon at a "Best 8 days" retreat for college-aged students, wherein he joked about the dilemma of watching pornography at a hotel on TV while his wife was in the shower. He joked that he was fortunate he did not choose the pornographic channel because there was a speaker in the bathroom and his wife would have discovered it.

27. Defendant, The Ridge of Columbus failed to take immediate action after Mark Jones spoke to members and teenage students about his personal sexually deviant behavior and his "monster," which is pornography according to him. At least one member of The Ridge of Columbus stopped attending services at The Ridge of Columbus due to the "confessed sexual addiction" and offensive nature of the sermon.

28. Defendant, The Ridge of Columbus, failed to terminate Mark Jones' employment after said intolerable, dangerous and deviant behavior. Instead, it negligently retained him for several more years despite knowing about his propensity for sexual addiction and deviant behavior.

COUNT II

NEGLIGENT RETENTION

29. Plaintiff hereby incorporates by reference paragraphs 1 through 28 of this Complaint as if fully set forth herein.

30. Defendant, The Ridge of Columbus did not take action to control Pastor Mark Jones' demented and dangerous behavior.

31. That Defendant, The Ridge of Columbus failed to dismiss Pastor Mark Jones after his unreasonable, repeated sermons disclosing his sexual deviances and behavior. The Ridge of Columbus maintained Pastor Jones as an employee even after his deviant behavior with Plaintiff became public, when they knew or should have known of the dangers his retention posed to its congregation and others.

32. Defendant, The Ridge of Columbus, is liable for the acts of Mark Jones per the doctrine of respondeat superior liability.

33. In Stropes v. Heritage House Childrens Center, 547 N.E.2d 244,247 (Ind. 1989) it was determined an employee is acting in the course and scope of his employment when he is acting at least in part to further the interests of his employer.

34. See Gomez v. Adams, 462 N.E.2d 212, 223 (Ind. Ct. App. 1984). Id. Even if an employee is primarily motivated by self-serving purposes, if he was at least partially serving his employer's interests, liability will accrue.

35. Defendant, The Ridge of Columbus, is vicariously liable for Mark Jones' counseling and seduction of Plaintiff committed during his employment with The Ridge of

Columbus. Pastor Mark Jones certainly was furthering the interests of The Ridge of Columbus by inviting Plaintiff to the "Verve" for socializing and worship yet he also had self-serving purposes in mind by tying to lure her to stay late after the program so he could comfort her mentally and physically.

36. Mark Jones' actions were authorized as he had the responsibility to responding to Plaintiff's anonymous email seeking help from The Ridge or Columbus, Mark Jones invited her to attend the Verve, The Ridge of Columbus' sponsored gathering on Saturday nights and Mark Jones privately counseled Plaintiff in his office located at the church. He engaged in numerous other acts in furtherance of The Ridge of Columbus' interests.

37. Mark Jones is liable to Plaintiff for unnecessarily taking advantage of his employment position as a pastor and then taking advantage of Plaintiff when she reached out to The Ridge of Columbus for help.

38. Defendants were negligent and breached their duty to Plaintiff by not maintaining appropriate boundaries between a Pastor and his Church and Plaintiff.

COUNT III

PUNITIVE DAMAGES

39. Plaintiff hereby incorporates by reference paragraphs 1 through 38 of this Complaint as if fully set forth herein.

40. Prior to his encounter with the Plaintiff, Mark Jones had a history of unusual behavior as a pastor of the Church.

41. Defendant, The Ridge of Columbus, had a duty to exercise reasonable care in its direction, supervision and control of all of its employees, including Pastor Mark Jones.

42. Defendant, The Ridge of Columbus, breached its duty to exercise reasonable care by failing to accurately check Mark Jones' background, failing to dismiss him after his many sermons of his sexual behavior, and otherwise act with reasonable care.

43. As a proximate result of the Defendants, The Ridge of Columbus and Mark Jones' gross negligence, Plaintiff, Jane Doe, was mentally, physically and emotionally injured.

44. As a proximate result of the Defendants, The Ridge of Colrnnbus and Mark Jones' gross negligence, Plaintiff is entitled to punitive damages to punish and deter Defendants from engaging in similar conduct in the future.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff, Jane Doe, prays for judgment against the Defendants in an amount commensurate with her damages, for the costs of this action, for pre-judgment interest, for trial by jury, and for all other just and proper relief in the premises.

CROSSEN KOOI, LLP

4661 Lisborn Drive

Carmel, IN 46033

Telephone: (3 I 7) 569-1335

Facsimile: (317) 219-0072

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Follow the comments ticker feed Comments (1 posted)

avatar
Hmm 15/05/2014 01:51:19
Not disputing any of this but...

She was so "afraid of his actions" that she continued to meet with him? And at places other than the church?
Reply Great Comment I'm sorry, but this is wrong!
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