Northern Minnesota Christian Retreat Center is added as defendant in lawsuit accusing Florida minister of sexually abusing minor female
Strawberry Lake Christian Retreat child sex abuse case moves to Minnesota District Court
(St. Paul, MN) A child sexual abuse case involving a Northern Minnesota child, originally filed in July of 2010 in Federal District Court against Florida-based Gospel Crusades leader Dr. Gerald Derstine, has added the retreat center at which the abuse allegedly occurred as a defendant–a move that requires the case to be shifted to Becker County in Minnesota’s 7th Judicial District Court where the new complaint will be filed today.
The Lawsuit stems from the alleged recruiting, grooming and subsequent sexual abuse and exploitation of a then 11 year-old female (identified in the complaint as JANE DOE 134) at Gospel Crusade’s Strawberry Lake Christian Retreat, Inc. located near the town of Ogema in Northeastern Minnesota. The sexual abuse began in 2007 and occurred periodically until the child was 13 years-old.
Attorney Jeff Anderson, who is widely known for his pursuit of justice for those who have been sexually abused by clergy, said the expansion of the lawsuit to include the retreat center reflects the fact that Derstine’s sexual misconduct occurred on the retreat property and was “known or foreseeable by other employees and therefore can be held responsible under the Minnesota law of vicarious liability.”
Anderson added that “We are gravely concerned that the accused is in denial and therefore poses a serious risk of harm to others. But fortunately, this courageous survivor is standing up for herself and all other kids who may be at risk.”
Derstine is an internationally known apostolic leader and the Founder/Chairman of Gospel Crusade Inc., Gospel Crusade Ministerial Fellowship, Strawberry Lake Christian Retreat, and Overseer for the Institute of Ministry Schools at the Florida, Minnesota and New York Retreat Centers.