Albuquerque Bishop ordered to pay $750K after lawsuit

On Special Assignment

An Albuquerque Bishop was ordered by a federal civil court judge to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to the woman who accused him of being a predator.

However, the Bishop, who’s still on the job, claims he doesn’t owe a dime. 

Bishop James L’Keith Jones of the Church of God in Christ, or COGIC, in Albuquerque, says he’s done nothing criminal. But that doesn’t change the fact that a federal court has now ordered him to pay $750,000 after a civil lawsuit was filed.

Jones has been preaching in Albuquerque for years, leading the Albuquerque chapter of one of the largest nationwide churches. But on Special Assignment in 2016, KRQE News 13 reported on Texas woman Kimberly Pollard’s lawsuit against the Bishop that revealed another side of him. 

Pollard claims Bishop Jones made the comment, “You lookin’ mighty sexy in your nightgown,” to her 6-year-old daughter in a video message. 

That comment was just part of a series of video and text message exchanges between Pollard and Jones that the lawsuit centered around. Some images in the messages are too explicit to show on television.  

Pollard claims Jones preyed on her when she was a teen 20 years ago, and says he sexually assaulted her in a hotel room when she was 16 years old.  

Then as he worked his way up the church ranks, she claims he used his authority to keep preying on her, “using coercion, threats, and his position as a spiritual advisor.” 

The Bishop denies any sexual assault occurred. Still, court documents show Pollard won a $750,000 judgment in the case. 

Her attorneys say Jones hasn’t paid a dime and instead claims the case was thrown out. 

Recently, legal assistants on the case made the trip from Texas to hold up a large sign for Sunday parishioners. 

The sign read, “COGIC Bishop James L’Keith Jones has been found liable by a federal district court of having a sexual relationship with a child. And he is still in good standing with the Church of God in Christ.” 

One of Pollard’s attorneys told KRQE News 13 via email, “It’s concerning that COGIC allows Jones to continue in such a high profile position.” 

Jones declined an on-camera interview and called this a case of a “woman scorned.” Jones told News 13 via email that he served a year suspension with the church, and doesn’t owe Pollard anything because the judge didn’t sign the document ordering him to pay. 

He also argued the judgment was by default since he missed a deadline to report to the court. 

“So I {sic} am in err for failing to respond to the court and not any damages or harm done to Ms. Pollard,” Jones wrote in an email. 

But KRQE News 13 called the Northern District of Texas courthouse where the judgment was filed and were told a judge doesn’t have to sign the document. The writ of execution is valid with a clerk’s signature, meaning Jones still owes $750,000 plus $20 per day in interest.

Both the Church of God in Christ and the Board of Bishops were dismissed from the lawsuit. News 13 called the church’s headquarters in Memphis to ask if Jones is still in good standing with the church. The church did not respond. 

READ: Writ of Execution 

 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 

 

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