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Robert and Cindy Litzinger, pastors at Church for Life in Santa Maria, California, have been sued by a church member who accuses them of sexual battery and assault.
A Santa Maria church and two of its former senior pastors are facing a sexual battery, harassment, assault, and gender violence civil lawsuit that was filed anonymously by a churchgoer in July 2017.
The plaintiff, listed as Jane Doe in court documents, alleges that Robert and Cindy Litzinger, who left Church For Life in 2016 because of other alleged complaints, used their positions as leaders and teachers to satisfy Robert’s “sexual fetishes.” The complaint also claims that Church For Life failed to adequately investigate complaints against Robert, who allegedly taught premarital and purity courses at the church, for years.
The plaintiff claims that while enrolled in Robert’s premarital counseling course, he told women to masturbate before their wedding nights, provided them with a list of sexual acts to do while married, and instructed them to do “whatever their husbands wanted.” Robert also allegedly asked the plaintiff and other women for “intimate” photos.
Robert sent the plaintiff unsolicited nude photos of himself, she claims in the court documents, and after several persistent requests, the plaintiff sent Robert similar photos in return, but she claims she eventually complained and asked him to stop. Still, the plaintiff claims Robert’s conduct continued.
While at the Litzingers’ house, the plaintiff alleges that Robert groped her breasts and genitals. When the plaintiff told his wife, according to the report, she said it must have been a mistake. When the plaintiff complained to Church For Life’s executive pastor, he allegedly instructed her to speak with Robert directly.
The complaint states that other claims against Robert led Church For Life to investigate and eventually remove him in 2016.
Paul Greco, defense attorney for the Litzingers, said his clients have completely denied the allegations listed in the complaint. Greco also said that because the lawsuit is a civil case, anything can be written in the complaint before a formal investigation takes place.
“Mr. Litzinger denies the allegations, and the discovery process will bring more information to light that will support his position,” Greco said.