UM church, conference and former pastor seek to have sexual misconduct suit tossed

A former United Methodist pastor, St. Luke “Community” United Methodist Church in Dallas and the North Texas Conference of the UMC have moved to dismiss a sexual misconduct lawsuit against them, arguing that it was filed outside the statute of limitations.

The suit was filed last February in Dallas County District Court by Cameron Jerrod Greer. It holds that Tyrone Gordon, while pastor of St. Luke, inappropriately touched Mr. Greer on four occasions between 2003 and 2010.

Amid an investigation by the North Texas Conference, Mr. Gordon announced last January that he was stepping down from St. Luke and surrendering his UM credentials. (Those actions took effect in mid-February.)

Mr. Greer grew up attending St. Luke, and according to his suit worked there part time from 2002 to 2007. He went on to study at Perkins School of Theology, and to become a pastor in the conference.

Lawyers for the defendants argue in their Oct. 12 summary judgment motion that Mr. Greer’s suit was filed outside a two-year statute of limitations for such a case. They also argue that Mr. Greer’s proper remedy for claim of workplace injury was to seek worker’s compensation benefits – not to file a suit seeking damages.

The motion notes that Mr. Gordon denies all of Mr. Greer’s allegations.

Mr. Greer’s attorney recently filed a response to the summary motion, asserting that the statute of limitations didn’t apply because church officials “concealed material information and fraudulently misstated material facts.”

Defense attorneys have countered, arguing that the response by Mr. Greer’s side was filed one day later than had been ordered by the judge hearing the matter. The defense attorneys also denied the allegations of concealed material and fraudulent misstatements.

Three other sexual misconduct suits have been filed against Mr. Gordon, the church and conference. In two, defense lawyers have filed motions for summary judgment, seeking to have the suits thrown out. The third case is not as far along, but defense lawyers have filed a petition denying the allegations.

 shodges@umr.org

Sam Hodges, Former Managing Editor, UMR

Sam Hodges

Sam Hodges was the managing editor of The United Methodist Reporter from 2011-2013. A formee reporter for the Dallas Morning News and the Charlotte Observer, Sam is a respected voice in United Methodist journalism.

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