FORT WORTH – A 25-year-old woman told jurors Wednesday that she believes her pastor was plotting to take advantage of her sexually from the moment he saw her in the pews of their Arlington church.
The woman, identified in court only as Jane Doe, said the Rev. Terry Horbuckle called her in front of the congregation on her first visit in October 1999, laid hands on her and told her that he understood her struggles.
About a month later, they began a series of counseling sessions that ended in sex, she testified, sometimes sobbing as she spoke.
The woman said she felt powerless to stop his advances.
“He’s such a powerful man and he had a lot of people on his side,” she said. “I can’t explain it, but the way I was feeling, the pain that I was feeling. He had took advantage of my weaknesses.”
Hornbuckle, 44, is the founder of Agape Christian Fellowship in Arlington. He is accused of sexually assaulting three women, two of whom are former members of his church.
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Taking a break?
In the case of Jane Doe, prosecutors say their sexual relationship was criminal according to Texas law because he used his position as clergy to take advantage of her.
If convicted, Hornbuckle could face probation or up to 20 years in prison on each charge.
Jane Doe, who is the second victim to testify, is expected to stay on the witness stand for much of Wednesday afternoon.
She testified that she and Hornbuckle had sex four or five times during the three years she attended his church. She claims he used personal information that she told him about her troubled childhood and distant mother to manipulate her.
“He would say that he could love me,” she said.
Earlier in the day, the pastor’s defense attorneys questioned a former church employee who testified about a two-year affair with Hornbuckle. They suggested that Lisa Mikals is a scorned woman willing to say anything to keep herself out of trouble.
Mikals said Tuesday that Hornbuckle threatened her before she appeared before a grand jury in his sexual assault case.
On Wednesday, defense attorney Mike Heiskell asked her if it wasn’t, in fact, her own marriage that she was trying to protect by lying about the affair.
“When you went before that grand jury and promised to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God, it’s fair to say you didn’t take that very seriously, isn’t it?” Heiskell said.
Last week, 23-year-old Krystal Buchanan, a former church member and the first alleged victim, testified that Hornbuckle lured her to an apartment in Euless on July 31, 2004, and offered her punch.
Krystal Buchanan said she passed out and woke to find Hornbuckle on top of her.
The second woman who claims she was assaulted by Hornbuckle was expected to testify Wednesday after a midmorning break.
Judge Scott Wisch is expected to decide later today whether the jury can hear about some items found in Hornbuckle’s vehicle when he was arrested.
Among the disputed evidence is a glass pipe like those used for smoking crack or other drugs, a business card for what Wisch called a “head shop,” and business cards for several massage parlors.
Also included was information about the effects of benzodiazepine, a drug that Buchanan testified was found in her system after the assault.