A lawsuit filed against the Seventh Day Adventist Church in the Seattle area claims the church ignored warnings for years about a teacher who was allegedly sexually abusing students and taught at the church’s schools in Washington and California.
The lawsuit was filed by the David Law Group of Seattle on behalf of victims of the abuse and says that the Seventh Day Adventists received a complaint about Douglas “John” Allison as early as December 2014 and the church ignored it.
The initial complaint followed an alleged incident in Crescent City, California, according to a document provided by the Del Norte Department of Health and Human Services. This incident involved Allison inappropriately touching a female student on multiple occasions and putting his hand down the front of her pants.
Allison was eventually arrested for sexual assault last year in a case separate from the incident in Crescent City. Allison, a principal and one of two teachers at Mountain View Christian School in Sequim, was accused of sexually assaulting two 10 year olds under his desk. According to police reports and the lawsuit, this happened when the other children in the class were distracted watching movies. He was convicted of the crime charged in the Sequim case and is now serving a 26-year prison sentence.
Also in the lawsuit filed in King County, church leaders in Washington and California are accused of having received reports from parents multiple times that showed concern for Allison’s inappropriate behavior of hugging and touching students at the schools. It is not clear what, if any, disciplinary actions or investigations of claims took place following any of the complaints or if any investigation followed the initial Crescent City complaint.
The church has not seen the lawsuit filing yet, which was filed on June 15, and is not making a comment at this time, according to Heidi Baumgartner, a spokesperson for the Western Corporation of the Seventh Day Adventists.
The victim’s family has asked for privacy and is not speaking publicly about the case, according to the Davis Law Group.
Parents are encouraged to communicate with their children about appropriate and inappropriate school behavior, and to report any incidents of abuse to the proper authorities.