In July, Dean Curry pastor of Life Center Assembly of God in Tacoma, Washington, was fired over sexual misconduct allegations. (You can read previous posts about Curry here and here.) Yesterday, the church board upheld the accusations against Curry.
They didn’t provide racy details, nor did they name accusers, but leaders of Tacoma’s Life Center church took a methodical procedural walk during a private meeting Thursday, explaining to a crowd of parishioners exactly why lead pastor Dean Curry was fired this summer after 14 years of service.
“The board is in unanimous agreement that Pastor Dean Curry’s removal as senior pastor was the correct decision,” said Nate Angelo, chairman of Life Center’s executive board. “He is disqualified from gospel ministry because of repeat violations of Life Center’s sexual harassment policies. He will not be returning as Life Center’s senior pastor.”
To the end, Curry denied the accusations against him, saying,
I stand by my denial and I stand by my comments about the Assembly of God — very disappointing. My disagreement has to do with mishandling of this process by the Assembly of God. It put Life Center and the board and me in a very awkward situation. I know they were forced into making a decision that was difficult for them. I appreciate their love and kindness to me. They have to make a decision and a statement that is best for Life Center. I totally understand why they want to cut ties.
Julee Dilley, a former church board member who left the church in 2016 over concerns about Curry’s conduct, filed complaints this summer with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the state Human Rights Commission regarding Curry’s behavior.
Dilley’s complaints levied the following allegations against Curry:
- An ongoing relationship with a married church member that turned physical.
- An incident involving another married church member being visited by Curry late at night, discovered by the woman’s husband.
- A female administrative employee who spoke of uncomfortable conversations with Curry that included comments on her appearance and discussions of his intimate relations with his wife.
- Inappropriate counseling sessions when Curry used vulgar terms when describing intimacy.
- Talking to other women about intimate details of his marriage
- Talking to women about their appearance, sometimes in crass terms.
- Telling women, “You are the only one who gets me.”
- Isolating women and spending time alone with them on multiple occasions, to their discomfort.
According to The News Tribune, DIlley took issue with the Life Center’s board’s characterization of Curry’s behavior as mere “sexual harassment.” Dilley called the board’s findings an understatement, saying:
Dean’s abuse was not consensual. This isn’t about bad language, lack of boundaries with women or flippant sexual comments. This was abuse, in my opinion. I do feel that there is a duty to warn the public about this type of predatory behavior to help protect from the potential of future victims.
It’s time to start the Dean Curry Resurrection® betting pool. How long will it be before the good pastor finds a church that buys his denials or is willing to give him a second chance? Forgive and forget, that is what Dean Curry is hoping for. And if there’s one thing I know about Evangelicals, they love a great comeback story. If Mark Driscoll, Ted Haggard, and Jimmy Swaggart can find forgiveness, why anyone can!