Madison - St. Clair Record

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Plaintiff asks court to sign off on settlement in legal action against Word of Life Tabernacle, staff, principals

State Court

By John Breslin | Oct 30, 2019

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EDWARDSVILLE - A lawsuit against Word of Life Tabernacle and its staff over claims of an assault on a child in their care may be close to settlement after the plaintiff filed a motion to end the near three legal action.

In her motion to settle, Mary Doe, as mother and next friend of Jane Doe, a minor, stated that she is prepared to accept the offer from the defendants of $15,000.

The plaintiff has asked Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge to sign off on the settlement and distribute the funds.

Word of Life Tabernacle in Granite City, Henry Crippen, individually and as president of Word of Life Tabernacle, Lisa Cochran, individually and as principal of Word of Life Tabernacle, and Olivia Valentine Crippen Foster, were all named in the suit first filed in 2016.

In the motion, filed Sept. 4, the plaintiff states that all the defendants have agreed to pay the money to settle the suit, which stemmed from a claim the child was injured while attending an aftercare program at the tabernacle.

A guardian and the plaintiff's attorney, Michael Wesley, of Wood River, agree the settlement is "reasonable and fair" and in the best interests of the child.

The motion asks that a guardian ad litem be appointed to review the settlement, that the settlement be approved, and for the distribution of proceeds, including attorney fees and costs based on the gross amount.

While the motion does not include details of the alleged injury caused to the child, previous court documents, and reports in the Record, claim that a tampon applicator was forced into the minor's rectum and a tampon in the vaginal area.

All the defendants denied any wrongdoing, claiming all their actions were reasonable at all times and, in addition, the alleged harm was caused by other not under their control.

The defendants are represented by Steven Hughes and Joseph Hoffman of Hughes Harris Law LLC in St. Louis, and by David C. Berwin of Evans & Dixon LLC in St. Louis.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 2019-L-1186.

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