Corona pastor Lonny L. Remmers’ alleged assault on a 13-year-old boy took place during a Bible study session as a circle of men watched, newly released court records say.
Remmers, head of the Heart of Worship Community Church, has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon and inflicting corporal injury on a minor. [Nicholas J.] Craig and [Darryll D.] Jeter have been charged with kidnapping and assaulting the boy, among other crimes. All three defendants have pleaded not guilty.
Police believe Remmers directed Craig and Jeter to “scare” the boy after his mother brought the boy to Remmers to be disciplined. Court documents allege that on March 18, Craig and Jeter took the unidentified boy to the desert, made him dig a grave, threw dirt on him and hit him with a belt before returning to the group home and assaulting him there.
Among the new allegations made in the affidavits is that either Craig or Jeter rubbed salt in the boy’s wounds. Larkey said that when the boy was showering after the desert trip, one of the men placed the salt into the cuts on the boy’s back. Larkey said he could hear the boy screaming.
Also, Larkey said, the next day he saw blood all over the shower. The boy told Voorhees that he had been stripped, bound to a chair and sprayed with Mace. His nose began to bleed, and because of the pain of the Mace on his face, he thrashed his face from side to side, causing the blood to spatter.
Later that day, March 19, the boy was brought to a men’s Bible study in the garage of Remmers’ Sloan Drive home, Larkey said. He said there were about 12 people there and that Remmers asked the boy to sit in the center of a group of men. Larkey said he heard Remmers say “Get me some pliers,” Voorhees wrote.
When the boy lifted his shirt, Larkey said, Remmers squeezed a nipple, causing the boy to cry out in pain. Voorhees later interviewed the boy, who Voorhees said reluctantly cooperated and denied crying out in pain or asking Remmers to stop.
Lonny Remmers heads the home-based Heart of Worship Community Church in Corona, California. The church, which is said to have 15-20 members, operates a group home that Nicholas Craig and Darryll Jeter are part of.
According to the Press-Enterprise, former Heart of Worship members refer to the organization as a cult, with Lemmers controlling what books you read, what Bible version to use, and which movies you can watch.
The former members said Remmers attempted to dictate church members’ activities through intimidation.
In a separate report the paper also says Remmers has been in legal trouble before
Remmers, 54, has left a trail of emotional, physical and financial pain behind him since the late 1980s, according to court records, news accounts and interviews with family members and associates. [….]
Remmers also is facing a civil complaint. Fifth Third Bank in Ohio is seeking $10 million from him, contending in a lawsuit that he swindled a developer by setting up phony companies and making false promises.
Remmers has been required to pay other civil judgments against him for thousands of dollars, has been called a bigamist in divorce papers and was served with a restraining order by a girlfriend who said he threw her against a wall, according to court records.
In addition, the paper notes, some people say his sermons are laced with profanities and that he physically attacked a congregant who failed to obey his directives.
In the same report the Press Enterprise explains
[Lonny Remmers’] profile on the business-networking website Linked In lists Remmers as owner-director of Fire Escape Ministries, which appears to be an umbrella organization over Heart of Worship, Trinity Resource Network, Re-Entry Ministries (with Remmers as president-director) and Ministry 2 Men, among other groups.
The profile says Fire Escape/Re-Entry offers a Christian Aftercare Program that acts as a conduit between prisons or community-based programs and churches to help people with reintegration into society.
The assistance includes 12 months of “strict Bible-based programming,” anger management, stress management, parenting, financial management training and counseling. Food, shelter, clothing, vocational training, job placement assistance, transportation and legal and medical help are also provided.
Remmers once held Heart of Worship services at the old Corona civic center. The church website listed a storefront address on Main Street that is now closed and advertised services and Bible studies at Remmers’ Sloan Drive home and at a house on Myers Street in Riverside. Neighbors of the Sloan residence have said they could hear Remmers cursing during services.
The websites for Fire Escape and Heart of Worship were taken down after Remmers’ child-abuse arrest.
A court date for Remmers, Craig and Jeter has been set for June 8.