Saturday, March 26, 2011

Church employee arrested
Montgomery church employee arrested for sexual torture and child abuse
Submitted by JoBeth Davis, Community Web Producer
Friday, March 25th, 3:06 pmTopics: Crime, News 50 284SharePrintE-mail..
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A former Montgomery church employee and author has been arrested on accusations of child abuse and sexual torture.

Dr. Barry Cook, 47 of Montgomery, was arrested Thursday on charges of Sexual Torture and Aggravated Child Abuse. He also has an outstanding warrant for Domestic Violence in the Third Degree.

Cook is listed as a leadership teacher and member of the Pastoral Staff at the Christian Life Church on Monticello Drive in Montgomery. On the church's website, Cook is listed as teaching the "Ordinary People, Extraordinary Power: God Still Speaks" class on Sunday mornings. According to Montgomery Child Protect spokesperson, Jannah Bailey, Cook was fired from the church earlier this week.

Due to the fact that the victim in this case is a minor, not many details are available for release.

Bailey did say the the victim is a 12-year-old boy who recently moved to this area with his family.

This is the very same Barry Cook who founded Ambassador Family Church in Oceanside, California back in 1995 with his then wife, Terri. AFC was foreclosed on back in 2008 after the church could no longer afford to pay its mortgage when patrons started leaving the church.

The circumstances surrounding the demise of that church are outlined in an article that appeared in the San Diego Union-Tribune back in May 2008. A 2005 paternity scandal between an AFC minister and his wife rocked the core values of the church.

Carolyn Limon, at that time a church office worker, filed for divorce from her husband, Vincent Limon, a former assistant minister at AFC. According to court records, a paternity test revealed that Limon was not the father of the couple's young child.The alleged father - Barry Cook.

The rumors around Cook's involvement continued to strengthen when Cook and his wife Terri separated the next year. Although the Cooks' divorce record does not cite misconduct, according to the Union-Tribune, church members apparently voted with their feet, leaving the congregation in droves. An estimated 600 out of 800 worshipers took their devotions elsewhere.

Church leaders asked Cook to take a paternity test to address the rumors, he was unresponsive.

One former church member, Susanne Guinn, took to the internet to blog what she knew of the situation. Guinn blames Cook for the downfall of the Ambassador Family Church.

“The church is in foreclosure because of Pastor Cook's refusal to admit what he did, that he did wrong, and to ask forgiveness from the church,” said Guinn, who left in 2004.

In an interview with the Union-Tribune, Cook repeatedly denied the claims. “They're unsubstantiated and vacuous,” he said. He said he was never directly asked to take a paternity test.

According to Cook, people left for other reasons: stress created by the construction battles and delays, differences with his ministry style and his withdrawal after his marriage failed and foreclosure loomed.

“I went through a long period when I was in a cave, so to speak, in my soul,” Cook said. “When I stopped speaking, all kinds of other people started.”

By December 2007, the loss of so many members hit home. The church fell behind on its loan payments and was foreclosed on and was bought by another group in February 2008.

Three years later the same man, Dr. Barry Cook, author of the book The Grace Factor, former religious leader and teacher in Montgomery faces a steep list of charges - Sexual Torture, Aggravated Child Abuse and Domestic Violence.

Cook was placed in the Montgomery County Detention Facility. The warrant for Domestic Violence will be served upon his release from the facility.

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