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A lawsuit in Lauderdale County claims that a local church was complicit and enabled one man who is accused of sexually abusing multiple children while in a leadership position.

Kelly Dale Crotts, 47, is out on bond while he awaits his October 17 jury trial.

Crotts turned himself in after a grand jury indicted him on three counts of indecent exposure, two counts of second-degree sex abuse and two counts of child abuse with sexual motivation.

Amid the criminal proceedings, several of Crotts’s alleged victims are filing a lawsuit against the church that employed Crotts and placed him in leadership.

The lawsuit comes from three anonymous John Does, minors who claim to have been abused by Crotts in several ways.

“Crotts exposed himself to the plaintiffs,” the suit reads. “Crotts enticed and manipulated the plaintiffs with various schemes and lies to expose themselves to him. Crotts, acting with sexual motivation, touched the genitals of Doe I and Doe II.”

The suit comes against Cornerstone Church of Christ, who the plaintiffs claim facilitated the abuse by allowing Crotts to have access to minors.

The complaint claims that the church was aware of the alleged abuse but “did not believe the victims or their parents.” It holds the church culpable for the alleged abuse since the instances occurred in situations where Crotts was acting in an official capacity.

Since the victims claim that Crotts’s abuse was an outgrowth of his employment, they seek legal compensation from the church. 

“Specifically, the Plaintiffs have suffered intense anxiety, worry, sleeplessness, loss of focus,  loss of direction, loss of motivation, alienation of affections for various relationships, humiliation, premature loss of childhood, and excruciatingly painful embarrassment,” the complaint reads.

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