The former director of a rehab facility once on the addiction recovery referral list of Pastor Miles McPherson's Rock Church in San Diego is being sued by six women alleging sexual battery and harassment.
David Powers, the former director of ABC Sober Living and current member of The Rock Church is at the center of the case. However, the intended lawsuit also mentions Rock Church Ministries' drug and alcohol recovery program. The church says their involvement with the rehab facility is limited to referring individuals who want help from addiction.
"In our efforts to help people overcome addiction, The Rock Church will sometimes refer those with substance abuse issues to any one of a variety of facilities. One of these facilities, ABC Sober Living, is owned by David Powers. Rock Recovery Ministry has no operational authority over ABC Sober Living," Mei Ling S. Starkey, media relations and social media director for the Rock Church, told The Christian Post.
Starkey added, "When the Rock first learned on Monday of the allegations against Mr. Powers, we immediately decided that we would no longer refer anyone to his facility until these claims are investigated by the proper authorities. It should be noted that none of the women who have made these allegations against Mr. Powers were referred to ABC Sober Living by the Rock Church."
According to attorney Irwin Zalkin, Powers allegedly behaved inappropriately toward the women while they underwent addiction recovery. Furthermore, the women claim that he battered and harassed them, all while his wife, Tina, knew about the alleged acts.
"These are the most vulnerable of the population. They're people who are really trying to deal with the horrible disease of addiction, and they've gone there to seek sanctuary. They've gone there to seek healing and what they get is a sex fest … He's looking for favors. He's conditioning their continued stay on them giving it up," said Zalkin, according to NBC San Diego.
However, Zalkin denies the allegations against him and stated that "at the end of January 2014 a female resident with mental health issues alleged that while she lived in a facility other than ours that one of our principals imposed himself on her in a sexual manner. We categorically deny this allegation."
He added, "Our company is a high profile target in our community and has its share of people who dislike us. Of those people, one person in particular took this girl to a law firm in hopes of taking us down. The law firm hired an investigator who did an extremely thorough investigation and turned their findings back over to the law firm. The investigation ended more than 2 months ago."
According to the San Diego Police Department, who conducted a criminal investigation involving Powers and a woman, no evidence was found to confirm the allegations. However, Zalkin expects more women to come forward in the case.