SoCal cop charged in church assault case

July 18, 2012 at 1:31 PM
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CORONA, Calif., July 18 (UPI) -- A California police officer was charged this week with failing to report a suspected assault on a child by a church pastor, prosecutors said.

The Riverside County District Attorney's office said Corona Police Cpl. Margaret Bell had been informed the pastor of her own church and two other members had allegedly physically assaulted a 13-year-old boy but never passed on the information to investigators.

Bell pleaded innocent Tuesday to a misdemeanor charge. Police in California are required by law to report suspected child abuse to the proper authorities.

Bell is a member of the Heart of Worship Community Church in Corona. Lonny Remmers, the leader of the 25-member church, was charged this week with kidnapping, false imprisonment and making criminal threats.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise said Wednesday Remmers and the other two men allegedly beat and terrorized the unidentified boy, who was allegedly sent to Remmers by his parents to be disciplined in March. The two other defendants -- Darryl Jeter, 28, and Nicholas Craig, 22 -- allegedly took the teen to the desert and forced him to dig a grave. They later took him to a church group home where he was further assaulted.

Remmers also allegedly took part in the abuse. Prosecutors said the 54-year-old pastor allegedly used a pair of pliers to pinch the youth.

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