Bethany Church, University Settles Sexual Abuse Lawsuit
OKLAHOMA CITY -- A metro church and university have settled a lawsuit filed by victims of rape and molestation.
The victims claimed Southern Nazarene University and Bethany First Church of the Nazarene allowed a known child predator around children. Former children's minister Ryan Wonderly was convicted and sentenced in 2005 for committing numerous sexual crimes against young girls.
But victims said Southern Nazarene University and Bethany First Church of the Nazarene should never have allowed Wonderly near children. They claimed the church did not conduct a background check on Wonderly and that church ministers allowed him to intern and hired him knowing that he was caught viewing child pornography while attending Southern Nazarene University.
University and church officials could not comment on the details of the settlement, because a judge sealed it for 30 days.
NEWS 9 spoke to one of the attorneys for the victims two years ago when the lawsuit was first filed.
"This civil case is about what the church knew and what the university knew and when they knew it and what they did about it and more specifically what they didn't do about it," said Jason Stephens, the victims' attorney.
The only statement the church has made, which was two years ago, was that foremost in their minds and hearts are the students and families affected and the victims are in their thoughts and prayers.