Abuse charges dropped against Covenant Life Church member
Religion | But the state’s attorney says the investigation is still open
by Bonnie Pritchett
Posted 7/01/16, 08:38 pm
Charges of child sexual abuse have been dropped, for now, against Larry Ellis Caffery, 66, a former children’s ministry volunteer at Covenant Life Church, a Gaithersburg, Md., congregation that has faced other similar allegations within its membership.
The Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office dropped nine counts of child sexual abuse and two counts of false imprisonment that were filed against Caffery in March. A protective order barring him from contact with an unidentified individual remains in place until April 1, 2017.
Because the charges were not dismissed but dropped, prosecutors can refile the identical charges or submit new ones at a later date. Caffery’s defense attorney, Mallon Snyder, and the public affairs director for the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, Ramon Korionoff, refused to comment on the case, including why the charges were dropped.
“This is an ongoing investigation, and it would be inappropriate for me to go into details at this time,” Korionoff said.
Caffery’s arrest recalled the 2014 conviction of a former Covenant Life youth ministry volunteer on five counts of sexual molestation that took place in the 1980s and 1990s. Previous civil lawsuits alleged that Covenant Life founder C.J. Mahaney and other leaders within Sovereign Grace Churches, formerly Sovereign Grace Ministries, covered up accusations of child sexual abuse involving church members decades earlier.
Covenant Life did not come under investigation in the Caffery case, and the church is no longer affiliated with Sovereign Grace Churches.
Bonnie reports on First Amendment freedoms for WORLD Digital.