Church named in Lowville sex abuse lawsuit taking allegations ‘very seriously’

Sexual assault
Sexual assault(WWNY)
Updated: Aug. 7, 2020 at 2:09 PM EDT
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LOWVILLE, N.Y. (WWNY) - A church named in a Lowville child sexual abuse lawsuit says it’s taking the allegations “very seriously.”

Earlier this week, a lawsuit was filed in State Supreme Court, claiming a former choir director at Lowville United Methodist Church sexually assaulted a teenager 40 years ago.

On Friday, the Upper New York Conference of the United Methodist Church, which is named as a defendant in the suit, issued the following statement:

"We are taking this very seriously and are investigating. When it comes to terrible acts like the ones that are being alleged, we, as United Methodists, support survivors and their families in their search for justice. We pray for healing for all such survivors."

The man accused of the sexual assault, A. Ronald Johnson, who is now 75 and living in Cooperstown, denies sexually abusing the plaintiff.

According to the lawsuit, Johnson also assaulted the plaintiff while working as a former teacher at Lowville High School.

The sexual abuse allegedly took place between 1979 and 1981, beginning when the student was approximately 15 years old.

A second alleged victim stepped forward after seeing our original report on Wednesday. One of the attorneys handling the case said the second person will be added to the lawsuit as a plaintiff.

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