A day after the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office in Gainesville, Florida, announced they had arrested and charged Lorenzo L. Crawford, founder of Christian Coalition Family Church, with child abuse, investigators slapped him Wednesday with an additional 11 counts of alleged sexual battery and one count of aggravated battery.
“Do you remember us telling you that our Detectives were continuing to investigate some ‘very serious allegations’ against Crawford? Sheriff Watson is pleased to announce that through the very diligent efforts of our entire Criminal Investigations Team, as well as the hard work of our community partners that assisted with forensic interviews, Crawford has been additionally charged with 11 counts of Sexual Battery and 1 count of Aggravated Battery,” the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office announced in a statement on Facebook.
Alachua County Sheriff Clovis Watson Jr., who has been in law enforcement for more than 20 years, called Crawford “one of the most heinous and vile human beings he has ever seen, as the acts he committed not only created physical and emotional scars for the victims, but it also created a spiritual void and an immense amount of doubt in people who believed in the church” according to the statement.
The sheriff’s office announced on Tuesday that Crawford, 54, who calls himself “apostle,” was charged after an investigation into a report of sexual abuse at Crawford’s church.
“The initial investigation into Crawford was related to a juvenile victim who notified a family member that another juvenile church member confided in them that they had been sexually abused by a member of the church. The juvenile victim’s family member advised Crawford of the information provided, which caused Crawford to summon the juvenile victim to his office. The juvenile victim’s family member was made to wait outside the office, while Crawford scolded the juvenile about ‘minding their own business,’” police said.
“During the encounter, Crawford instructed the victim to go to their knees and take down their pants, before Crawford utilized the entire length of a belt to beat the bottom half of the victim. This act caused significant bleeding and four months later, has still left significant markings on the juvenile victim,” investigators added warning that “this investigation is not over!!!”
“Sheriff Watson wants to assure you that if you are victimizing our children and even worse, hide behind the guise of being a religious leader to do so, WE WILL DELIVER YOU TO THE JUSTICE SYSTEM!” Watson’s office warned.
Alachua County Sheriff’s Office public information officer, Art Forgey, told WCJB that police believe more victims will come forward.
“It’s sickening,” Forgey said. “I wouldn’t say that you could call this person a church leader when he’s doing the things that he is doing. That is nowhere to be found in the Bible or any other religion. I think to run under the guise of this being a religion is the first strike in this puzzle.”
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