Cherin, who declined to use her last name to protect her daughter’s privacy, filed a lawsuit Wednesday (May 18) in Kane County, Illinois, against Christ Our Light Anglican Church. The lawsuit argues that Cherin’s daughter, who is referred to as Jane Doe, has experienced mental anguish and emotional and physical pain because of the church’s negligence, and it requests over $50,000 in damages. The case will be co-counseled by longtime sexual abuse attorney Boz Tchividjian and local counsel Evan Smola.
An important facet of this lawsuit (potentially) is that it includes the ACNA itself. As Kathryn Post reports:
Though Christ Our Light Anglican is now defunct — online records show that it dissolved in July 2021 — Tchividjian told RNS this doesn’t prevent the church from being part of the case. The lawsuit also names several other Anglican entities as respondents in discovery, including the Diocese of the Upper Midwest, Church of the Resurrection (the diocesan headquarters where Rivera previously attended and volunteered), the Greenhouse Movement (the church planting organization that oversaw Christ Our Light Anglican) and the denomination itself.
Because of the continual bungling of the process and response to serious sexual misconduct in the Upper Midwest–specifically in a Greenhouse church–the ACNA is now facing its worst nightmare, lawsuits. The overarching desire to preserve stability and the illusion of collegiality amongst the College of Bishops is now smashing into the wall of reality. What might the discovery process turn up in terms of how the diocese, the Greenhouse Movement, and the ACNA have handled this serious situation? As Watergate taught us, an organization’s response to a crisis is often worse than the crisis itself.