By Leonardo Blair, Christian Post Reporter | July 24, 2019
A grandson of the late Billy Graham, former child abuse prosecutor Boz Tchividjian, has joined the legal team of a young girl who was sexually assaulted at First Presbyterian Church of Plymouth, Michigan, just over two years ago.
The family of the girl known as Jane Doe, was just 5 years old when she was sexually assaulted at the church in 2017. They were initially represented by attorney Monica Beck of The Fierberg National Law Group. Tchividjian, who is part of the Florida law firm Landis Graham French, P.A., has now become a part of that team.
The girl was attending Sunday School at First Presbyterian Church of Plymouth on Palm Sunday in 2017, the attorneys said, when she was left “dangerously unsupervised.”
“As a result, a male perpetrator sexually abused Jane in the church bathroom. The Doe family contends that the church’s lack of security measures and practices enabled this crime to take place and the perpetrator to disappear without detection,” the legal team argued in a statement shared with The Christian Post.
“After more than two years of investigation, law enforcement has been unable to identify and apprehend the assailant. The Does learned that, while law enforcement was investigating the crime, the church was conducting its own investigation into the matter and created a report setting forth its investigation findings. However, as the family recently discovered, the church did not disclose its report or all of its contents and findings to the police,” they added.
A motion has now been filed requesting that the Wayne County Circuit Court order the church to fully disclose — to police and the girl’s parents — the investigative report and materials related to the case.
“The Does continue to seek answers of how it came to be that their daughter, on church property, entrusted to the care of church staff, was sexually abused. The family hopes that the church’s investigative report will shed light on that question,” the attorneys said.
The lawsuit against First Presbyterian Church of Plymouth was first announced in January when the emotions of the family were still so raw they declined speaking publicly about it.
“As much pain and trauma they were about, learning about the assault itself that was really exacerbated by the lack of response from the church,” Beck told ABC 7 at the time.
“The church really had no measures in place to ensure the safety of their daughter, to have any understanding of who was allowed access to children in the Sunday school that Palm Sunday, which is one of the busiest days of the year at the church,” she argued.
Tchividjian’s addition to Jane Doe’s legal team comes with more than two decades of experience litigating sexual abuse cases.
He is also the founder of GRACE, an internationally recognized nonprofit organization that equips religious organizations with the tools they need to correctly respond to allegations of sexual abuse and educates them on how to create safeguards to protect children in their communities.