A Winnipeg woman sexually assaulted by a former Mennonite pastor has filed a $2 million lawsuit, alleging his church fostered a climate that aided in the abuse of children.
Brian Douglas Porisky, a former pastor with the Mennonite Brethren Church of Manitoba pleaded guilty to sexual assault and was sentenced last October to six months custody.
Porisky, 53, admitted to kissing and fondling the then 14-year-old girl and taking her out for "romantic" dinners in 1996 while a youth pastor at The Meeting Place church.
The woman alleges much more serious transgressions in the lawsuit, including repeated incidents of intercourse and oral sex at church functions and at Porisky's home. Those allegations have not been proven in court and Porisky is considered innocent.
Porisky was sentenced to an additional 2 1/2 years in prison last October after admitting to sexually molesting an 11-year-old girl in 2005, six years after he had been fired from the church. Court heard Porisky had been sexually molested for years as a child.
The lawsuit alleges the church "failed to recognize that a certain percentage of pastors would become sexually deviant and would make sexual advances on children" and failed to instruct pastors about "the possibilities of becoming sexually deviant."
The church taught the girl that only by following its rules will she "gain the right to go to heaven" and that pastors are "the chosen representatives on earth of God and have special powers," alleges the lawsuit.
"The plaintiff pleads that the aforementioned rules, principles and ideologies of the Mennonite Brethren Church created an opportunity for Porisky to exert power and authority over the plaintiff," says the lawsuit. "Porisky was aware of the low risk of getting caught due to his power, and therefore, (the church), put the plaintiff at risk of being abused."
A church representative said Thursday he was aware of the lawsuit but was not in a position to comment.
Published on March 10, 2016