David Peaster

Lawsuit against Holdeman Mennonite denomination, congregation, and church members alleged abuse and failure to report, settled out of court

In 2016, David Peaster (b. 1957), his wife, their Mountain View congregation in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, and the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite denomination were defendants in a lawsuit alleging that David Peaster sexually abused his adopted son and another victim, and that the church knew about the abuse and failed to report or prevent it.

The complaint alleged that Peaster abused the victims multiple times over a four-year period, and that one victim told a church leader he was being abused. The victim stated that Peaster was excommunicated from the church for approximately ten days until he repented and was then reaccepted into the congregation. The complaint alleged that Peaster then began to abuse again, but the church still did not report to external authorities.

The victim who initially reported to the church said he was “called a liar.” He also said that when he had run away from home and police picked him up, he had told them he was being molested, but they only returned him to Peaster.

The lawsuit was reportedly settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. Current and former members of the denomination told MAP that as part of the denomination’s settlement agreement, every congregation read a letter in front of their members declaring that they had explored local laws regarding mandatory reporting, and they would subsequently comply.

In addition to damages, the complaint also requested that church leaders participate in abuse prevention training, implement response policies, and establish an education program for children.

Church-related positions

  • Member, Mountain View Church of God in Christ, Mennonite, Bonners Ferry, Idaho

Documentation

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