WOMAN SUES OAKLAND PASTOR
OAKLAND (AP) -- A woman who says her pastor seduced her when she turned to him for spiritual guidance is suing him for professional negligence and clergy malpractice.
Rickey Richard, who is in her 30s, filed her lawsuit this week in Alameda County Superior Court. Richard said Pastor Willie Smith of Oakland Baptist Church took advantage of her when she asked for counseling in 1991, the suit says.
In her suit, Richard said the pastor controlled and manipulated her for two years.
The pastor denies the allegations. "It is ironic that she and her attorneys chose this holy week before Easter to attempt to try her allegations in the media," Smith said in a written statement. "We will vigorously defend our case in the proper forum."
Richard's attorney, Jean Hyams, alleged that Smith began a "reign of terror" after her client ended the relationship in 1993.
The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, also accuses the pastor of intentionally inflicting emotional distress.
MERCURY CENTER ID: me23879p
Transmitted: 94-04-01 06:06:16