Bishop Joseph Walker was hit with an amended lawsuit Monday by a former church member who is accusing the charismatic preacher of sexual abuse.
Valencia Batson's earlier lawsuit against Walker, pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Nashville, was essentially dropped after her attorney filed a voluntary nonsuit in November. But her attorney filed a new complaint this week, going into more detail about the alleged abuse.
"Plaintiff Batson was so severely damaged by the sexual assaults by her spiritual leaders that she developed PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) and other debilitating conditions such that she was unable to take action within any usually applicable statutes of limitations," the complaint reads.
Other defendants named include Jerry Luren White, overseer of Financial Affairs, and Michael E. Williams, pastor for Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church. Walker is identified in the complaint as the "primary abuser" and the "principle agent in the civil conspiracy to systematically recruit young women for sexual, psychological and spiritual exploitation."
Batson was among four female former congregants who filed a lawsuit against Walker for sexual misconduct and violation of trust early this year. Another former member, Corey Lamont Corbin, filed a separate lawsuit against the pastor for betraying his trust and breaking up his marriage.
A church spokesman told The Christian Post at that time that the claims were "fabrications."
Both those suits have been either dropped or dismissed.
In the amended complaint by Batson, the defendants are accused of trying to "control" their congregation with no interferences or challenges to their leadership accepted. Batson additionally alleges that Walker mismanaged the funds of Mt. Zion Church and funneled donations to himself and his for-profit entities.
"Further, the coercive practices of the Defendants created a fraudulent concealment, wherein their misdeeds were concealed or misrepresented, and that the representation of the Defendants that Defendant Walker in particular was somehow 'closer to God' and thus not subject to the same rules and laws as ordinary men," the suit states.
"By creating a cult of personality and an attendant cult-life atmosphere of secrecy and fear, the Defendants were able to keep Plaintiff Batson and other targeted women victimized and under constant control and not reasonably able to take any actions against them."
The complaint also details the alleged sexual abuse. Batson, who began attending Mt. Zion in 1998, sought pastoral counseling from Walker and she claims he used that trusted position to pressure and harass her into sexual contact with him and others.
Batson claims that she was ignored by Mt. Zion Church staffers when she reported the assault.
The plaintiff is seeking trial by jury and compensatory damages (estimated to be about 6 million dollars).