Televangelist Jan Crouch, founder of Trinity Broadcasting Network, has been accused of covering up the rape of her teenage granddaughter by a TBN employee in an effort to "save the reputation" of the network.
Carra Crouch, the 24-year-old granddaughter of the late TBN founders Paul and Jan Crouch, said she was drugged and sexually assaulted by a TBN employee at a Praise-A-Thon fundraiser in Atlanta when she was 13, according to the Mail Online.
In a lawsuit filed Trinity Christian Center of Santa Ana, the nonprofit that runs the Christian broadcasting empire TBN, Carra said she had smoked a cigarette, drank alcohol and watched a movie on her bed with a 30-year-old man, and that the man fondled her, tried to kiss her, and gave her a glass of water that she suspects was laced with a drug that made her pass out.
When she awoke, she suspected she had been raped.
However, when she told her grandmother about the assault, she said, Jan Crouch "yelled at and berated her" instead of reporting the incident to police.
She filed the lawsuit in 2012, saying the experienced led to years of trauma and emotional distress, according to the OC Register. This past Wednesday, her lawyer, David Keesling, raised the accusation that Jan, who died in 2016, knew about the assault and covered it up at a Californian court because she was concerned about the "bad press." He argued that as an ordained minister, Jan had a duty to report the allegation to authorities.
"This is absolutely the reason why we need mandatory reporters," Keesling said. "Had Jan Crouch not failed her obligation to the law, we wouldn't be here."
Keesling said Carra was left "traumatized" by her televangelist grandmother: "Jan Crouch, like her or not, her words mattered to Carra," he said. "Carra went in fragile and she came out broken."
"We will show how Jan Crouch - Carra's own flesh and blood grandmother, matriarch and leader of the world's largest televangelist television program, pastor and spiritual leader of that family - how when she heard what had occurred, didn't offer comfort or spiritual healing. She yelled at her. Berated her. Castigated her. She blamed her. She shamed her," said Keesling.
He added, "This case can be summed up in four simple words: Practice what you preach."
In turn, Trinity attorney Michael King said there is no evidence that Jan berated her granddaughter, and argued that Trinity had no obligation to do anything in this case. He also suggested that Cara went to her grandmother as a grandmother, not as a minister.
"Jan Crouch is not here to defend herself," he said. "She loved her granddaughter; she would never intentionally hurt her granddaughter."
Trinity's lawyers have also said Carra's charges actually are part of an extortion plot.
Jan and Paul Crouch had two sons, Paul Jr. and Matthew, both of whom are high-ranking officials and program hosts on TBN. Paul died in 2013 at age 79.
The couple founded TBN in 1973, and the next year purchased the network's first station, KTBN-TV 40 in Southern California. It grew to become the most watched faith network in the country and the seventh largest owner of broadcast TV stations.
Since TBN's founding, Jan Crouch served as the network's vice president and director of network programming, as well as the director of programming for TBN's affiliated networks, such as the Smile of a Child children's channel, the JUCE TV youth network, The Church Channel, and the TBN Enlace USA Spanish language network.
She also served as the president and manager of The Holy Land Experience theme park in Orlando, Fla.