Lawsuit against Mt. Zion dropped, new complaint filed - WSMV Channel 4

Lawsuit against Mt. Zion dropped, new complaint filed

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Just as a lawsuit against Mt. Zion Baptist Church and Bishop Joseph Walker was withdrawn, a graphic amended complaint was filed that detailed accusations of group sex and financial mismanagement.

Former church member Valencia Batson, and three other unnamed women, accused Mt. Zion Baptist Church and Walker for sexually abusing and psychologically manipulating them.

On Nov. 30, Batson's attorney filed what's called a voluntary non-suit without prejudice, which basically dropped the suit.

The other former church member, Corey Corbin, had his lawsuit dismissed because of a statute of limitations.

Corbin blamed Walker for ruining his marriage because he had a long-term affair with Corbin's wife.

Yet on Monday, Batson's attorney filed a new, amended complaint that goes into graphic details of how Batson accused Bishop of forcing her to give him oral sex and accuses the church of arranging group sex and lied about the financial health of the church.

Photos and tax liens were introduced as evidence in the just re-launched lawsuit against Mt. Zion Baptist Church and Walker.

The Register of Deeds office in Nashville confirmed there are several outstanding tax liens against the church and its affiliated media company, even as Walker asked members Sunday to continue to donate to get the church out of debt.

So far, the lawsuit has centered charges of sexual and spiritual manipulation, but the woman making these claims said the tax liens are proof of church leadership out of control.

One outstanding tax lien, from the state of Tennessee, centers on what was once called Exodus Productions - an affiliate of the church.

The lawsuit states the church was quite heavily in debt while Walker drove a Bentley.

The new amended complaint came just as the bishop told his church on Sunday that all the lawsuits against him had been dismissed.

"This has been one of the most testing years of my life," Walker said during his sermon.

Walker went on to say that he did not pay a settlement to any of his accusers in order to silence the lawsuits and encouraged his parishioners not be vindictive.

"This is not the time to say, 'Look at them, I got them.' This is time for us to be a praying church. To pray even for our enemies. That's what I do," Walker said.

Batson withdrew her first lawsuit one month after Zion's attorneys filed a motion claiming that Batson's complaints were outside the statute of limitations. Zion's attorney claimed the last time she spoke with Walker was January 2005.

In another filing Monday, Batson's attorney wrote that her client has several medical conditions that should eliminate the statute of limitations and that Batson had learned much more about the alleged misdeeds, so she decided to file an amended complaint.

Included in the evidence is a photograph of Walker wearing a Superman T-shirt. The suit indicates it's proof of Walker's inflated ego and the power he holds over the congregation.

There is also this photograph of the so-called armorbearers, who are a group of men selected by Walker. The suit claims the armorbearers are "soldiers" and Walker's private security guards that will stop at nothing to further the goals and do the will of Walker.

But, Batson claims Walker didn't need security to deliver threats, including allegedly telling her, "You will never say a word. Think of your family, it is not a good idea."

A public relations representative for the church said Tuesday they had no comment.

However, lawyers for Mt. Zion denied all of Batson's allegations and said the statute of limitations had passed anyway on all of her accusations, given that the last time she spoke with Walker was 2005.

When reached by phone, Batson's attorney would not comment, saying that in filing the voluntary non-suit without prejudice, it enabled them to re-file the case.

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