A former Santa Maria pastor who stepped down from his position last year allegedly sexually harassed, battered and assaulted a female church goer, according to a lawsuit filed in Santa Barbara County court. The lawsuit also names the ex-pastor’s wife, who, too, was a pastor at the church, alleging she aided her husband’s sexual exploitation of women. [Raw Story]
In June 2016, Robert and Cindy Litzinger stepped down as lead pastors at the non-demoninational Church for Life, which likewise is named as a defendant in the suit. At the time, the church released a statement saying some revelations had created a “storm.”
The lawsuit filed on behalf of the former parishioner, who is identified as a woman in her 30 and mother of two, states Robert Litzinger stepped down following complaints about his statements on pornography during pre-marriage counseling sessions. In pre-marriage classes, Robert Litzinger would instruct women on how to masturbate and have an orgasm and teach them to be ready and willing to do whatever their husbands want, the lawsuit alleges.
Likewise, during pre-marriage counseling, Robert Litzinger allegedly requested that brides-to-be send him sexually explicit photos and be open with him about their sexuality, as that would make them strong Christian women.
Once Robert Litzinger sent the plaintiff a photo of himself with his wife in bed saying “just had a great session,” according to the lawsuit. After multiple requests, the plaintiff sent the pastor a revealing photo of herself.
On one occasion, the Litzingers invited the woman to their home for a prayer group. There, Robert Litzinger groped her, and Cindy Litzinger defended the action as an innocent mistake, according to the suit.
The plaintiff brought her complaints to church officials, but other Church of Life pastors did nothing to address them, the suit alleges. Eventually, the woman discovered other woman had similar experiences with Robert Litzinger.
Robert Litzinger has not faced criminal charges over the alleged sexual abuses. The plaintiff is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.