On November 8, 2010, Attorneys representing Ramona Roesler of Nampa, Idaho, filed a lawsuit against Calvary Chapel Caldwell dba Calvary Kids Learning Center in Caldwell, Idaho. Pastor Bob Larson is the Affiliated Lead Pastor of Calvary Chapel Caldwell.
According to the suit, Roesler was hired by Calvary Kids on or about February 23, 2010. The suit alleges that on May 17, 2010, a minor child attending Calvary Kids advised Roesler that she had been touched in her genital area by relatives and that her genital area hurt and had bled.
The suit further alleges that same day, Roesler reported the information to Shannon Barron the acting Director of Calvary Kids and that Roesler informed Barron that the matter needed to be reported to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.
According to Roesler, Barron advised that instead of contacting IDHW, it was her intention to contact the minor child’s parents regarding this matter. Roesler reiterated that IDHW must be contacted regarding the matter, according to the suit.
Roesler states that on the same day, May 17, 2010, she completed a Calvary Kids Incident/Accident Report documenting the information provided by the minor child.
At approximately 6:45pm that evening, Roesler left a voicemail for Barron in which she again reiterated the need to report the matter to IDHW. In the same voicemail, Roesler stated that it was her belief that she and Barron were Mandatory Reporters under Idaho state law, according to the suit.
Roesler says the next day, she once again spoke with Barron and told her she believed they were required to report the suspected abuse to IDHW.
According to the suit, Barron then advised Roesler that, per Calvary Kids’ protocol, the administration would have a second meeting with the minor child’s parents. Additionally, Barron told Roesler that Calvary Kids’ administration had instructed them to not contact IDHW. Roesler then insisted that the matter must be reported to IDHW that day and told Barron that if someone from Calvary Kids didn’t report the matter, she would make a report.
That evening, the suit alleges, Roesler was advised by Barron that IDHW informed Calvary Kids to abide by the public school policy regarding the reporting of suspected child abuse.
Roesler alleges that the next day, May 19, 2010, she contacted the Area Director of Elementary Schools for the Caldwell School District and was advised that the individual teacher who observed potential abuse must report the matter to IDHW.
According to Roesler, she reported the potential abuse to the IDHW on May 21, 2010.
On May 24, 2010, the minor child advised Roesler that a relative continued to touch her genital area. Roesler then reported that information to the IDHW that same day, according to the suit.
On May 25, 2010, investigators from the IDHW arrived at Calvary Kids to conduct an investigation regarding the report filed by Roesler. That same day, the suit asserts, Barron asked Robert (Bob) Larson, Pastor of Calvary Chapel Caldwell, if anything should be done about the alleged abuse being reported to the IDHW. Barron also advised Larson that it was her belief that it was Roesler who reported the abuse.
According to Roesler, on May 27, 2010, she informed Barron that she had made two reports to the IDHW regarding the minor child.
On May 28, 2010, Calvary Kids terminated Roesler’s employment, according to the suit.
Chad Nicholson of the Rossman Law Group in Boise, Idaho, says he cannot comment on the suit, but confirms that there has been no settlement to date and that, “we are in communication with opposing counsel.”
Bob Larson, Pastor of Calvary Chapel Caldwell, stated that the lawsuit has no merit and that his Administrator at Calvary Kids followed Calvary Chapel Caldwell’s protocol.
Larson agreed that as the Lead Pastor of Calvary Chapel Caldwell, Inc., he is the person in charge and controls the assets of the Corporation, which includes Calvary Kids.
Responding to a question if he would have handled the situation any differently, Larson said, “Yes, I would. I would have handled the firing of the employee differently. In fact, we have changed some parts of our policies in that area.” He went on to say that he would handle a future child abuse situation the same way as before and that, “we followed the proper protocol.”
Larson further stated that IDHW told him he handled the situation correctly and that IDHW found the minor child’s statements to be false. Larson stated, “She says these things all the time.”
When asked if he would settle the suit, or if he would fight it, since he believed he and Calvary Chapel Caldwell didn’t do anything wrong, Larson stated that Insurance handles these matters and they would decide how to proceed.
According to Nicholson, Roesler’s Attorney, he was not aware if Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa was involved in the suit or had knowledge of it.