Pastor Doug Bird has already faced major controversy because he refused to close his Roseville Church services during the COVID-19 pandemic but now he faces additional controversy.
Abundant Life Fellowship had already been dealing with a lawsuit which alleges that the Church Youth Director alleging a had repeatedly sexually assaulted a 16-year-old boy who was a church member.
The lawsuit, which is pending in San Bernardino Superior Court, names the church and former youth director Cornell Howard.
Howard is accused of repeatedly assaulting the teenage victim, who the suit says was born in 1995 and joined the church as a sixth-grader in 2007.
The first attack came after a church-sponsored youth ministry trip to Mexico in 2011, the suit says.
“When the ALF kids arrived in California upon the conclusion of that trip, Howard took plaintiff to Howard’s home and sexually assaulted him,” the lawsuit says. “The attack left plaintiff ashamed, embarrassed and confused and humiliated.”
Howard allegedly continued to prey on the young boy, assaulting him “in public parks, in parked cars and at Howard’s home” according to the lawsuit
Howard, who now works at the Rancho Cucamonga family therapy agency where he answers phones, declined to discuss the allegations. Howard said he had worked at the church for “probably a decade” but would not comment further.
“Howard spoke to plaintiff of sexual matters, and allowed plaintiff to sleep in his house,” according to the suit.
The suit also names Mark Holliday, Howard’s supervisor at the church, for allegedly failing to properly manage Howard during youth events sponsored by the church. Holliday could not be reached for comment and his phone was disconnected.
The suit also alleges that Howard engaged in “prior sexual misconduct” with another 16-year-old boy, and that the church “took no action to investigate or otherwise provide protection from Howard to anyone…”