Modified: November 16, 2022

Elder at Megachurch Arrested in Death of 11-year-old Daughter

Over the years, many allegations of sex crimes and sexual misconduct have been carried out by the leaders of the First Baptist Church, with the recent one involving 55-year-old Johnny Hunt (a senior pastor). He allegedly sexually abused another pastor’s wife.

However, in August 2022, Julie Roys, an investigative journalist, broke the news of the death of an adopted 11-year-old girl in Spring Valley, which shook the residents of San Diego.

Let’s explore the details of the incident with Ehline Law and our injury attorneys.

Police Suspect the Death of 11-year-old Girl Involves Child Abuse and Torture.

On August 30, 2022, an 11-year-old adopted girl, Arabella, died at a San Diego hospital, leading to investigations by the detectives at the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. The authorities received a distress call and sent medics over to Lakeview Drive in Spring Valley, moving the young girl to a hospital where she lost her life.

Police launched a homicide investigation a day after Arabella McCormack’s death after seeing signs of child abuse. According to the department, McCormack’s father, Brian McCormack, took his life in his vehicle following the young girl’s death.

San Diego’s Rock Church Immediately Distances Themselves from Adoptive Mother

The adoptive mother, Leticia McCormack, was an important figure in San Diego’s Rock Church and an ordained elder. Soon after the incident, the officials at the church distanced themselves from her and put her ordained status on hold.

Elder at Megachurch Arrested in Death of 11-year-old Daughter

The police arrested the adoptive mother and her parents, charging them with Arabella’s death.

On November 9, 2022, the three family members pleaded not guilty to child abuse and torture charges stemming from the child’s death. According to the prosecutors, Leticia McCormack and her parents tortured the three children for more than five years leading to Arabella’s death.

Adoptive Mother and Her Father Faces Murder Charges; Sheriff Says

Besides child abuse and torture, El Cajon Superior Court charged Leticia and her 75-year-old father, Stanley Tom, with the murder of 11-year-old Arabella McCormack, each facing 25 years imprisonment with a possible two life terms if convicted. If convicted, Leticia’s mother, 70-year-old Adella Tom, also faces two life terms.

According to the Sheriff’s Lt. Chris Steffen, Arabella’s two sisters are with a foster family. He is still unsure why a Border Patrol veteran who served for 19 years took his life and whether he had any part in the child abuse.

Previous Child Abuse and Sexual Assaults by Church Members

There have been many cases of child abuse and sexual assault carried out by church members, including the following:

  • Dylan Ritterman, a pastor, pleaded guilty to sexually abusing young boys at the Bethel United Pentecostal Church.
  • Carlos Smith, a pastor, was convicted of sexual battery of a young girl at the church he previously led.
  • Police arrested Terry Red, a pastor at Vessels of Christ Ministry, for sexually abusing minors.
  • Police arrested a pastor, Tommy Lynn Bailey, for sexually abusing a 15-year-old underage girl.

The incidents mentioned above are not accusations but actual crimes in 2014 for which the police made arrests, and these are just a few of the many lists of crimes carried out by church officials.

Schedule Free Consultation with Ehline Law

Sexual abuse is a severe crime for which the perpetrators face lengthy prison sentences. Victims can also pursue civil action against their abusers to receive compensation for the damages suffered.

Sex crimes or abuse at churches are unraveling as previous minors are now turning 18 and having the courage to raise their voice against the injustices they suffered. If you are a victim of a sex crime or abuse, contact us at (833) LETS-SUE for a free consultation on your case.

Top Notch American Injury Lawyer, Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline

Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer in the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his J.D. from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements.

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