Saturday, December 16, 2006

Can a falsely accused couple find justice at ORCC?

The purpose of this BLOG is to bring to light a current situation taking place at Orchard Road Christian Center, formerly known as Happy Church founded by Marilyn Hickey and her husband, Wallace (Wally). The church is presently led by Marilyn's daughter, Sarah, along with her husband, Reese Bowling. Sarah and Reese are the senior pastors. The injustice concerns an older couple and the senior associate pastor couple, David and Diane Reiter.

BACKGROUND: Jim and DiAnn Stewart have been members of Marilyn Hickey's church for at least 20 years. An older couple, you would hardly take notice of them in the church once known as "HAPPY CHURCH." They would never be selected to be the poster child for Marilyn's message of prosperity and success. Impoverished in a number of ways, they have been loyal, nevertheless, through contributions of service. One such contribution involves several years of babysitting for Dave and Diane Reiter's children for little to no reimbursement. They have acted as surrogate grandparents since 1991.

SITUATION: The Reiters' 15 year old adopted son told his parents that he was very unhappy at home. In April 2006, in the presence of the Stewarts, the Reiters kicked their son out of their home to teach him a lesson, although Mrs. Stewart warned them that it was against the state law to kick a juvenile out. When the boy left on April 18th in compliance with their order, Diane Reiter reported him as a "runaway." She told Mrs. Stewart she did so to keep her husband and herself from being held liable.

The boy spent approximately two weeks roaming from place to place without disclosing his location, even to the Stewarts. On one occasion during those two weeks, Diane Reiter swore to Jim Stewart "I'll sue you!" if he had the boy.

Toward the end of the two weeks the boy called the Stewarts late one night to say that he was very sick. He asked them to come get him. The Stewarts drove to a designated spot to pick him up. The next morning they encouraged him to return to his home and school. Although he said he was afraid to live at home, he did call his school counselor that morning. The boy stayed one more day to recover from his illness. During this time he confided in some of his friends that he was being abused at home.

His mother came with the police to apprehend the boy and to serve an order against Jim Stewart. As for the boy, he was taken that day to an undisclosed location out of state by his parents. However, he called the Crisis Hotline in Colorado to ask them to open a case in his behalf to investigate his claims of abuse at home. The crisis hotline worker told him that he would have to return to Colorado before they could investigate.

FALSE ALLEGATIONS: The original order against Jim Stewart was for harboring a runaway. According to the city attorney, Diane Reiter contacted his office to demand that the Stewarts be charged with something more serious, as they were "dangerous" people. At one point she emailed the city attorney with a list of false allegations, including that the Stewarts had paid for her son to get his ear pierced, and that Mrs. Stewart had told her she had given drugs to her son (the complete list is on public record).

The charges of "harboring a runaway" were dropped against Jim Stewart. In addition, the city attorney refused to press the other charges Diane Reiter demanded, but noted to Mr. Stewart's lawyer that Diane Reiter's notes and calls revealed more about her.

Shortly after the Stewarts were exonerated, Diane Reiter filled out two restraining orders against both of them...this time claiming that she had just found out that one or both of them had likely been molesting one or more of her children for the last five years. With the help of a lawyer, she dropped the orders in exchange for a charge against Jim Stewart. She also narrowed the names of the supposed victims down to one child. Coincidentally, her son has been excluded from her list of witnesses, even though she originally listed him in the restraining orders as one of the possible victims. It is highly doubtful that he knows what the Stewarts are going through.

CRISIS: The Stewarts cannot afford the legal fees required to fight these false accusations. The several lawyers they have spoken with have cited fees of $40,000.00 or better. In Colorado you must be indigent to qualify for a public defender.

When Mrs. Stewart called her pastor, Reese Bowling, he acknowledged to her that he had known about the charges, and decided not to tell the other pastors. He was surprised to hear that Jim was not in jail, but offered no explanation as to why he had not phoned them or given a pastoral visit in that event. He told her the church would not help them, and ended the phone call without an offer to pray with her. He has not returned her other calls to his office. To date, the Stewarts have received no pastoral care from their church.

REQUEST: Please pray for real compassion and true justice for the Stewarts. Thank you