2 Mar 2009

Bakersfield man says preacher beat his son with a paddle

KGET News17 NBC - California February 27, 2009

A Bakersfield man called 17 News after he says a local preacher paddled his son.

Those allegations led to the District Attorney's Office's filing charges against the church leader.

God-Worthy Ministries is the church where one father says his son was beaten with a paddle.

The church leader already faces a child abuse charge, but Joey Sepulveda says he still wants to warn other parents.

"I actually did witness a girl being spanked and it turned my stomach," said Sepulveda.

Sepulveda says his stomach turned even tighter when he learned his son was also beaten by a local church leader four months ago.

The Bakersfield father says the bishop at the church he used to attend disciplined his son, and without his permission.

"I was furious,'' he said. ''A lot can happen when someone does that to your child."

Sepulveda says Bishop Donald Anthony Towns paddles children and women in front of the church body as he reads

Sepulveda says the last time Bishop Towns hit his son, he struck him at least 12 times with a paddle and left the child with bruises and marks.

We went the Bishop's home and his church but could not reach him today.

Court records show the district attorney's office filed a misdemeanor charge of willful cruelty to a child after the Sheriff's Department investigated.

"We received allegations in September of 2008, and we began investigating Mr. Towns,'' said Senior Deputy Michael Whorf. ''That investigation lasted until December of 2008."

On Thursday, Bishop Towns pleaded *not guilty to the misdemeanor charge.

But Joey Sepulveda says he wants to see Bishop Towns behind bars and the doors closed at God-Worthy Ministries.

"This is a sad thing because this isn't how Christianity should be, and it makes Christians look bad."

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