A San Antonio church pastor on Tuesday denied accusations that he dragged a teen behind a van in Banquete during his Christian boot camp last summer.
Charles Flowers, 47, and Stephanie Bassitt, 21, who are on trial for simple assault, are accused of using a rope to tie trainee Siobahn McClintock, then 15, to a van and dragging her behind it.
On Tuesday, Flowers testified the teen refused to follow orders and cursed at the staff from the first day of camp. While the other girls participated, she would purposely fall to the ground to avoid exercise.
“She did everything to express she didn’t want to be there,” Flowers said.
Prosecutors argued the teen was not physically fit and may have collapsed from exhaustion.
On one morning when she lagged behind during a group run and refused to finish, Flowers left her with Bassitt, a staff member, and returned in a van.
“She was lying half in the roadway and half out,” Flowers said.
Flowers said after he got her to stand up he tied a rope to the van and then around her waist in a loose knot. He asked Bassitt to hold a portion of the rope so the teen wouldn’t trip. The rope was never taut and she was not dragged at any point, he said.
Later that day, Flowers said he noticed a change in the girl’s attitude when she completed an obstacle course with her team and also led the group in song.
Flowers and his wife are the founders and directors of Love Demonstrated Ministries, International boot camp.
If convicted of the Class A misdemeanor, Flowers and Bassitt would face as much as a year in county jail and as much as a $4,000 fine.
Other staff and trainees said the girl intentionally hurt herself to be taken out of the camp, including throwing herself against a barbed-wire fence.
Two of the girls’ parents testified that the teen’s mother, Frances McClintock, said her daughter also had been physically violent toward her.
Testimony will continue today in 347th District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos’ court.