Joel Osteen and his Houston, Texas, megachurch became the subject of a rather nasty sex scandal that allegedly involved the inappropriate touching of a special needs child. The incident reportedly happened back in 2010, but it quickly got swept under the rug. According to Radar Online, someone from Joel Osteen’s megachurch was accused of using his position to allegedly molest at least one child. In 2011, a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Back in 2010, Osteen’s Lakewood Church was under investigation by Child Protective Services after another member of the megachurch allegedly saw Alvaro Daniel Guzman, who was 25-years-old at the time, inappropriately touching a special needs child. Guzman was a volunteer for the Champion’s Club, which is the special needs children’s’ ministry at Joel Osteen’s church. When another volunteer claimed to see Guzman inappropriately touching the child that he was assigned to, she was urged to call CPS and report the incident.
In 2011, a warrant was issued for the arrest of Guzman by the Harris County District Court. The report claims that Guzman was charged in the incident for one count of indecency with a child and was released on $10,000 bail. According to EurWeb, two different volunteers testified that they saw Guzman with the child, who turned out to be an 8-year-old autistic boy. The Houston Press reported that the child was non-verbal and unable to testify against Guzman. Months later, a jury failed to indict Guzman for the alleged sexual misconduct, because there just wasn’t enough evidence to prove that he had done anything wrong.
That’s when Alvaro Daniel Guzman hit Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church with a $10 million lawsuit. Guzman claimed to have suffered “lost wages, damage to reputation,” and “anxiety, pain, and illness,” according to Radar. Guzman maintained that he was innocent of the accusations against him and claimed that Osteen’s church failed to pull security video that would have proved as much. He also claimed that the church did not properly investigate the accusations before turning the information over to CPS and Houston police investigators.
Guzman also accused other volunteers in Joel Osteen’s church of similar contact and claims that his complaints about others reportedly touching special needs kids inappropriately went ignored. Representatives for the Lakewood Church claimed that no other incidents like the one Guzman was accused of had been reported to church officials in the past.
Guzman’s $10 million lawsuit against Joel Osteen’s church was ultimately thrown out. In December 2012, the judge ruled in favor of the Lakewood Church, stating that they didn’t receive any real evidence for Alvaro Daniel Guzman in regard to his lawsuit.
Now that the Lakewood Church scandal has been unearthed, many are shocked that Joel Osteen and his church were able to stay under the radar regarding headlines and scandal during the investigation. Not counting new reports, only a local Houston blog reported on the sexual abuse allegations. When Guzman sued the Lakewood Church afterward, the story was picked up by the Christian Post, but it also largely went ignored. With the effort to keep the shocking sexual abuse allegations off the media radar, some are wondering what other secrets have managed to stay out of public view from Joel Osteen’s megachurch as well as others with serious financial backing.
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