Pastor Accused of Sexually Assaulting Woman Previously Charged With Rape

UPDATE: Sex assault charges were dropped against Bishop Michael Turner on Sept. 28, 2016; the Prince George's State Attorney's Office said the victim no longer wanted to proceed with case.


ORIGINAL STORY: A Maryland pastor accused of sexually assaulting a 22-year-old woman at church has been charged with rape and assault in the past, News4 has learned.

Bishop Michael C. Turner Sr., the senior pastor at The Miracle Center of Faith Missionary Baptist Church in Capitol Heights, Maryland, has been charged with second-degree assault, fourth-degree sex offense and harassment, according to court documents.

In the early 90s, Turner was charged with second and fourth-degree rape and assault and battery.

The rape charges were dismissed and he was sentenced to three years for the assault charges. He served about six months in jail.

A woman who started working at Turner's church in February has brought the latest charges against him and said Turner repeatedly harassed her and made unwarranted advances toward her in his office, in the copy room and in the elevator.

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"He would lock me into the back room or his office and touch me and get on top of me and say things to me," the woman said. "He told me not to be scared and not to say anything becaus I was a big girl." 

The victim's aunt is a minister who was ordained by Turner and is responsible for brining her family to the church more than 10 years ago.

"That's a monster. She did not come here for that," said the aunt who did not want to be identified.

"He needs to get some serious help," she said. "How can you preach from the pulpit after you've done these type of things."

Turner's attorney, James Papirmeister, gave the following statement to News4:

"Reverend Turner vehemently proclaims his innocence. He did not commit these offenses on this young lady. This is a citizen-initiated complaint. I want you to know, and the public to know, for better or worse, that Maryland's legal system allows any human being to go to a Commissioners Office, located throughout the state, 24 hours a day, and allege anything he or she wants against any other human being, whether or not true, or whether or not based on personal motives. Reverend Turner will make any required statement about the allegations only in court. He is not going to follow the initiation of this media blitz by relatives of the alleged victim by trying this case in the media. He is going to say what he has to say in court. He has devoted over 25 years of his life to founding and building this church in Prince George's County and he intends to continue doing so for the indefinite future. He is going to do his best to not let someone else's media infatuation distract him from his career, and his obligation to his parishioners and his community."

Turner was arrested on Tuesday and was released after paying the $10,000 bond.

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