Singleton Schreiber partner Ben Siminou heads to court in the Fourth Appellate District on May 8 in an appeal following a headline grabbing mega-church sex abuse scandal.
The lawsuit alleges a youth counselor at the Houston-based Grace Community Church molested Mr. Siminou’s client (“John Doe”), then hid this abuse for years from parents and authorities.
According to the complaint, beginning in July 2009, Joel Davis—the director of the church’s youth and performing-arts program—confessed to a church pastor that, while on a trip to San Diego for a dance camp, he sexually abused John (then a minor) while he slept. Davis was not fired, and was allowed to continue serving as the director of youth-based programs at the church.
In 2010, John, now six-weeks past his 18th birthday, attended another trip to California for a dance camp. Davis was once again the lone chaperone in a hotel suite full of boys. According to the complaint, during that trip, Davis again molested John while he slept. The next day, Davis confessed to the church’s most senior pastors, but still was not fired. The pastors later admitted they did not remove Davis because they were afraid the congregation would discover what happened if they did.
John and his family did not discover the abuse for several years. They were only made aware of the second incident when, after hearing rumors, John confronted Davis, who then confessed to the second incident in 2010. Even then, the church led John to believe there was only one incident, and continued to cover up the first incident for several more years until John told his parents, who then confronted Davis and the church.
“My client put his trust in these ministers, in the hope they would help him become a better person,” said Ben Siminou, partner at Singleton Schreiber. “Instead, they put the church’s interests above his welfare by exposing him to a known sex offender, then keeping his abuse a secret for years. The church not only put my client in harm’s way, they betrayed his trust.”
The case was thrown out by the trial court on the eve of trial, but Mr. Siminou is fighting to give the family the justice they deserve.
This appeal is John Doe v. Grace Community Church, Superior Court for San Diego County, Case No. 37-2017-00002921-CU-PO-NC. The sex abuse survivor is referred to as “John Doe” to protect his anonymity.
About Ben Siminou
Ben Siminou is a certified appellate attorney and head of the firm’s Motion, Writs & Appeals practice group where he handles motions and appeals for trial lawyers inside and outside the firm. Ben has an extraordinarily high winning percentage in the appellate courts, with notable wins in the California Supreme Court, Nebraska Supreme Court, Ninth Circuit, and the California Court of Appeal. Ben has been even more successful with law-and-motion in trial courts. In 2021 and 2022 alone, Plaintiffs recovered over $75 million in cases in which Ben defeated a dispositive motion.
About Singleton Schreiber
With over 200 employees and offices throughout the western United States, Singleton Schreiber has represented more than 12,000 victims of utility fires and has recovered approximately $2 billion in settlements and verdicts for its clients. The firm currently represents thousands of victims of the numerous fires in California, New Mexico, and Oregon. The firm’s dedication to obtaining justice for those impacted by toxic conditions and environmental hazards sets it apart from the competition. The firm is also a premier personal injury firm, obtaining top results for clients, including more than $100 million in verdicts in 2022.