Lawsuit dismissed against Mt. Zion, bishop - WSMV News 4

Lawsuit dismissed against Mt. Zion, bishop

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A judge has thrown out a $5 million lawsuit against one of Nashville's largest churches and its well-known leader.

A former church member sued Bishop Joseph Walker and Mt. Zion Baptist Church, claiming the bishop violated his trust and seduced his wife.

Corey Corbin waited eight years to come forward with those allegations against Walker and the church, and because he waited to long to file suit the case is being dismissed.

"I trusted him with information, and he used it to his benefit," Corbin said.

In April, Corbin sued and claimed that in 2004, Walker tore Corbin's marriage apart by spiritually manipulating him and his wife during their marriage counseling.

Eventually, Corbin claims, the bishop started a sexual affair with his wife.

But a judge has now thrown out the case, because the statute of limitations has expired on the claims from eight years ago.

Now, the church is hoping the same will happen with a civil suit filed by former church member Valencia Batson.

Batson told Channel 4 News said she was sexually abused and spiritually and psychologically manipulated at the hands of the bishop and other church leaders.

"Church is not to get sick. It's to get better, to be better," she said. "When you're in a position of power, you're not to misuse that power."

However, in new court documents, Walker's attorneys suggest Batson has no case, saying her claim of clergy malpractice should be thrown out, because it is not addressed in Tennessee law.

Also, they want her claims of assault, battery, false imprisonment and fraud dismissed, because the alleged incidents happened prior to Feb. 2011. They argue that makes the claims outside the one year statute of limitations.

Leaders with Mt. Zion had no comment Friday.

A judge will decide whether or not to dismiss Batson's case on Dec. 13.

The attorney who represents both Corbin and Batson said the cases are very different, and just because one was dismissed does not necessarily mean the other will be.

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