ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Families of eight children have filed a lawsuit against the Salvation Army, alleging the organization failed to protect their children from sexual abuse by a minister in the Salvation Army Church in Kenai.
The minister, Cleland Troy Trickel, was sentenced in August to 3 1/2 years in prison after pleading no contest to second-degree sexual abuse of a minor.
Trickel was suspended from his position as captain of The Salvation Army in Kenai after he was indicted in February on four counts of sexual abuse of a minor. The indictment charged that Trickel had sexual contact with three children, all members of his Kenai congregation. The alleged abuse took place in 1999.
The civil suit, filed Monday in Kenai Superior Court, alleges Salvation Army officials permitted Trickel to remain in control of the Kenai church after repeated complaints of molestation were made.
The suit also says the Salvation Army failed to report the incidents to the state and failed to investigate complaints of sexual misconduct made about Trickel while he was a minister in Kake.
Officials with the Salvation Army said in a written statement that the organization cooperated fully with the investigation and acted swiftly in suspending and terminating Trickel's officership.
According to court documents much of the abuse occurred in the church, including Trickel's office and in the chapel and while Trickel was chaperoning children on Salvation Army functions. The court filings say police investigators also found child pornography on Trickel's office computer.
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