Four years after a woman’s Facebook post led to a spate of sexual and physical abuse allegations against Dallas megachurch pastor Rickie Rush, police have referred a criminal case to prosecutors, The Dallas Morning News has learned.
The case, delivered to the Dallas County district attorney’s office in late October, involves multiple accusers, police said. Officials declined to identify them or specify the allegations against the 61-year-old evangelist and founder of Inspiring Body of Christ Church.
For accusers and their advocates, the move marks a key step toward holding Rush accountable amid doubts about whether the probe had been stalled and police were taking it seriously.
Last year, after Dallas police Chief Eddie García was hired, he sought to assure the public his department was serious about the case and urged anyone with information to come forward. Rush’s alleged abuse dates to the mid-1990s.
Through his attorneys, Rush has denied all allegations and called them ludicrous. They said Rush’s accusers are trying to use law enforcement to buttress potential lawsuits. No claims have been filed.
On Monday, Rush lawyer Michael Heiskell said he had shared with police and the DA’s office results of a polygraph test Rush took last year showing his denials were “truthful with no deception detected.” Polygraphs are not considered reliable and are inadmissible in Texas courts.
Those who say Rush abused them were relieved to hear a case is progressing.
“This is the best news I’ve heard concerning the pain that was inflicted on us,’’ Renee Phillips, 45, the first to go public, told The News. “Now I understand how imperative it is to speak out. It’s never too late. You never know how your story connects with other silent voices.’’
A News investigation identified 11 other former church members who said Rush abused them sexually or physically when they were teens or younger. Among them: Phillips’ older half-sister, Donna Fields, and Fields’ son Marcus Bell Jr.
Over the last year, detectives have focused on Bell’s allegation that Rush raped him at the church around 2007, when he was 13. Police earlier had deemed Phillips’ and Fields’ cases too old to prosecute.
“We packaged up everything we have: the witness statements, the elements of the crime, everything for the grand jury to scrutinize the case for indictment,’’ said Reuben Ramirez, assistant chief of the Dallas police department.
During a video call with The News’ editorial board and reporters Friday, Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot said he didn’t know when the matter would go to a grand jury because the pandemic has disrupted scheduling.
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Source: Dallas Morning News