The alleged rape of a 13-year-old girl at Falls Creek church camp last summer has prompted the filing of a civil lawsuit against the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.
A 35-year-old cook brought to the Oklahoma church camp by Country Estates Baptist Church of Midwest City tied up and raped the girl June 16 while she was attending the camp, attorneys for the girl allege in a civil lawsuit filed Wednesday in Oklahoma County District Court.
The cook, Benjamin Lawrence Petty, 35, of Midwest City, was criminally charged in Murray County in June 2016 with first-degree rape, rape by instrumentation and forcible sodomy. He is awaiting a preliminary hearing.
“Although Falls Creek is not responsible for the alleged behavior, the allegations are deeply disturbing and we are looking into them,” said Brian Hobbs, communications director for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.
Petty’s attorneys in his criminal case could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening.
The girl was attending the camp with a group from the First Baptist Church of Terrell, Texas, the civil lawsuit says.
The Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, Country Estates Baptist Church of Midwest City, and First Baptist Church of Terrell all are named as defendants.
The Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, a cooperative owned by a partnership of Oklahoma Baptist churches, owns and operates Falls Creek, which is located in the Arbuckle Mountains in south-central Oklahoma. About 54,000 adolescent campers attend the camp during the summer camping season, the lawsuit says.
The Baptist General Convention employs staff to run the camp, but also requires participating churches to bring at least one adult sponsor, including cooks, for every ten campers, the lawsuit says. The campers sleep in cabins.
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