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Sex Abuse Case Moves Forward Against Former Bell Gardens Pastor

(CNS) – A judge has cleared the way for trial of a young man’s lawsuit alleging he was sexually abused by the former pastor of a Lutheran church in Bell Gardens.

Ruling on a defense motion to dismiss some or all of the allegations, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michelle Rosenblatt said both Iglesia Luterana de San Pedro y Pablo and the Pacific Southwest District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod will remain as defendants.

But she tossed all claims against a third entity, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, finding that its leadership had no knowledge of the actions of the former pastor, Franklynn Brundige.

In total, eight young men – five of them relatives of Brundige – claim they were molested as children by Brundige. They also maintain that as early as 1991, church officials knew of Brundige’s routine sleepovers with young boys and did nothing.

The first civil trial, scheduled to begin Dec. 3, involves a plaintiff identified as Juan Doe 1 who is now 27 years old. Brundige allegedly abused him at least five times from 1997-2001.
The other plaintiffs’ cases will be tried later.

Brundige, who was a pastor at the church from 1990 until 2007, was sentenced in 2008 to 24 years in prison after pleading no contest to two counts each of lewd acts with a child under 14 and of continuous sexual abuse of a child.