A well-known addiction recovery group affiliated with the Rock Church in San Diego, California has been accused of sexual misconduct in the form of intimidation, sexual comments and groping. David Powers, who used to run ABC Sober Living, was named by three plaintiffs who have filed a civil lawsuit describing their experience while under his care.
Although the megachurch is named in the lawsuit as a defendant, a spokesperson for Rock Church said their involvement with the recovery facility is limited to the referral of individuals who want help with their addiction. The church is concerned about the accusations but said none of the alleged sexual misconduct happened on any of the church’s property, nor was it committed by anyone authorized or under the control of Rock Church.
These allegations were committed at a rehab center which is owned and operated by ABC Sober Living. According to media relations and social media director for the Rock Church, Mei Ling S. Starkey, none of the accusers who attended the center’s programs was referred by the church to the ABC Sober Living center.
Several women who have come forward in the case involving Powers spent time at one of the facilities under his care called Soledad House. Powers has denied all allegations claiming after 17 years in operation this is the first time a rumor such as this has been heard of involving ABC Sober Living.
Taylor Peyton, who joined the program in September 2013, said she was terrified that if she told anyone what was going on she would not be allowed to complete her treatment. This former heroin addict explained during her four-month stay at the facility last year Powers would enter her room and lie on top of her while grabbing her buttocks and kissing her neck and would also grab her butt during prayer in support group meetings.
Another alleged victim, Jaycee Peacock, said Powers began making inappropriate comments to her immediately after her arrival. Peacock said she entered Soledad House with a scholarship from the Rock Church in July 2012. The scholarship helped cover expenses for the woman’s addiction treatment. According to this former addict, Powers would slap her butt and even walk into the room when she was naked. Peacock said Mr. Powers found a way to touch her and make disgusting sexual comments every single day that she was in the facility.
The women have also said that Powers and his wife, Tina, would have sexual intercourse while leaving their bedroom door open despite the fact that women in the program were staying in their home. Tina was also accused of threatening the woman about going public.
A former employee of the facility validated the allegations. Andria Donovan admitted to witnessing the inappropriate sexual behavior of Powers toward these women. She said there was nothing she could do to defend the women because Powers was the person who handled all of the grievances for the rehab center.
Irwin Zalkin, San Diego attorney, said this place is really a cesspool of sex. Addicts are the most vulnerable of the population. They join the facility because they are really trying to deal with the horrible disease of addiction and they go there looking for a sanctuary. They want healing and instead they have gotten a sex fest.
Zalkin presented proof from the Rock Church’s website which identified Powers as the “Rock Church Recovery leader.” The attorney said for them to suggest that Powers is not directly associated with Rock Church but is just some third-party individual is a farce.
“His conduct was so open and notorious you’d have to be blind, deaf and dumb not to know. If you were involved at all with him you’d have to know. It was so obvious.”
Zalkin said he is astounded that Powers has been able to get away with it for so long.
In 2009, the church honored David and his wife as “Rock Heroes.” This couple was applauded for their work with Rock Recovery described as “a 12-step, Christ-centered, co-ed support group that uses small group interaction, the Bible, and 12-step principles. The Rock is known nationally for their Recovery Ministry. Many other churches and even other recovery facilities refer clients to Rock Recovery.”
David Powers, formerly of ABC Sober Living, has been accused of sexual misconduct. Three plaintiffs have filed a civil lawsuit describing their experience while under his care. This rehab is closely affiliated with the Rock Church, a megachurch in San Diego, California.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)