Presbyterian Church Elder Magill Accused of History of Covering Up Sexual Abuse Claims
A recent report claims that former pastor and Presbyterian church elder Keith Magill has a history of ignoring sexual abuse claims. A former church member has come forward to report in 1999 she told Keith Magill, then pastor at Southside Reformed Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, that her father had been sexually abusing her for years. The victim states that Magill failed to report the abuse to law enforcement or church administrators. Instead, she claims Magill talked with the victim and her mother and said he would counsel the father. Magill also downplayed the girl’s concerns when she stated she believed her younger sisters were also being molested by her father. For two years Magill failed to alert authorities. Law enforcement was finally notified of the abuse in 2001 when the girl’s father started seeing a new counselor. Once the counselor learned of the abuse, they immediately reported it to the authorities.
Magill eventually left the Southside Reformed Presbyterian Church and served in pastoral and leadership positions with several churches before becoming an elder at the Immanuel Reformed Presbyterian Church in West Lafayette, Indiana. While at Immanuel Reformed Presbyterian Church, Keith Magill became aware of reports of sexual abuse allegedly perpetrated by a boy related to the pastor of that church Jared Olivetti. The Indianapolis Star reported in December 2021 that pastor Olivetti along with church elders Ben Larson, David Carr, and Keith Magill were all aware of multiple reports of sexual abuse within the church but failed to notify church or law enforcement authorities, thus covering up the abuse. All four men have since resigned their positions and are facing ecclesiastical charges for failing to act appropriately and with urgency in response to sexual abuse allegations within the church.
Help for sexual abuse survivors
Cohen & Malad, LLP attorneys are representing sexual abuse victims involved with Immanuel Reformed Presbyterian Church and are investigating additional claims. Sexual abuse within the church community can happen in any faith. When clergy and church elders fail to act on reports of abuse it can have a damaging effect on sexual abuse survivors that can last a lifetime.
If you, your child, or someone else you know is a victim of sexual abuse or molestation, contact us. Our attorneys have experience in litigating church and clergy sexual abuse claims and can help you.
We understand the sensitive nature of this type of lawsuit and prioritize our clients’ privacy and trust while fighting to get them the compensation they need to assist them in healing and coping from sexual abuse.
Learn more about how our sexual abuse litigation team helps sexual abuse survivors in their journey for justice and healing here.