SEATTLE — “It means that he wanted to, they as a whole wanted to, close a chapter and sweep it under the rug,” child sexual abuse victim Kenny M. said Tuesday.
Kenny M. is one of three plaintiffs in a recently settled civil lawsuit against Seattle’s Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church and its pastor, Robert Lee Manaway
At the center of the lawsuit — Timothy Dampier, a longtime leader, youth pastor and singer at Tabernacle.
Two years ago, Dampier was found guilty of sexually abusing 17 boys and was sentenced to 22 years in prison.
“We maintained in the lawsuit that Tabernacle knew or should have known that Dampier was a problem,” Kenny’s attorney, Bill Waechter, said.
The plaintiffs do not want the out-of-court settlement amount made public.
Should have known, according to court documents, because Kenny M. said he told him, but contends that Manaway never called police.
“Pastor Manaway’s response was to arrange a meeting between Tim Dampier and Kenny and himself … It’s sounds unbelievable to all of us but it’s what happened,” Waechter said.
Kenny then said he reported the abuse to another pastor where Dampier was working, and his arrest soon followed.
“I knew that it was still going on. I felt like, I felt like he was still being let into a place where he knew he was comfortable and he knew he could get away with it. I had to protect, not only my child but other people’s children and I heard he was working with children still, that’s when I really drew a line,” Kenny M. said.
“I can’t imagine how many lives Kenny M. saved by going to Pastor Jeffries when his meeting with Pastor Manaway failed,” Waechter said.
Today, Kenny and the other two plaintiffs are trying to get on with their lives.
Kenny said neither Manaway nor anyone else at the church has apologized — but that’s OK.
Kenny just wants to take care of his family and forgive those who have hurt him.
“Yeah, I have to. In order for me to know I’m going to heaven and I don’t have any sins to be forgiven, yes, without a doubt in my mind, I have to forgive them,” Kenny M. said.
For the better part of two years, Q13 Fox News has tried to speak with Pastor Manaway about this story, but he has failed to return phone calls.
Kenny said he believes there are more boys who were abused by Dampier.
He encourages them to come forward.
He said that was the beginning of closure for him and he wants the same for any other victims.