Plymouth — A Presbyterian church is being sued in connection with the alleged sexual assault of a 5-year-old girl during a Sunday school class.

The suit, filed Thursday in Wayne County Circuit Court, claims the First Presbyterian Church of Plymouth and two church employees are negligent and liable in the assault.

Monica Beck, the Traverse City attorney representing the girl and her parents, said in a statement the suit seeks accountability and justice for the victim.

The suit alleges the girl was assaulted by an adult male during Sunday school on April 9, Palm Sunday, 2017.

It said the church's staff failed to provide adequate supervision of the classroom, allowing the girl to leave. She was gone for about 20 minutes and during that time, a man took the girl into a bathroom and sexually assaulted her, according to the lawsuit.

The parents reported the incident to the church, but officials continued to hold classes and failed to notify other parents about the assault, the suit says. 

Officials for the church issued a statement in response to the lawsuit.

"The church was made aware of a claim involving a child on Palm Sunday in April 2017 and immediately commissioned an investigation," the Rev. Emily Campbell, associate minister, said in an emailed statement. "The church has fully cooperated with, and provided information to, the Plymouth Police in connection with the police investigation. The church has not seen any lawsuit involving this matter and was not aware of the filing. The church is deeply saddened by this claim and continues to pray for anyone involved."

Detroit News writer Charles E. Ramirez contributed.


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