WOFF-related custody saga continues

RUTHERFORDTON — The ongoing saga of former Word of Faith Fellowship member Shana Muse continues to add chapters.

Muse was in court last week after the WOFF couple with custody of her children claimed she was in contempt of court after a recent alleged incident in Charlotte.

Brooke and Kent Covington, WOFF ministers, have accused Muse of violating a standing custody agreement after Muse was arrested and charged with simple assault and battery and misdemeanor child abuse.

The contempt of court hearing before Judge Athena Brooks was delayed until Sept. 27.

Muse denied any wrongdoing during a visitation with her children and sister in Charlotte in June. Charges were filed that she pushed her sister and hit one of her two boys.

Muse has four children, two older girls — who have been emancipated and are considered legal adults — and two younger boys.

All four children are were removed from the Covington’s home in Oct. 2003 after a court ruling found the WOFF environment to be abusive. That verdict was overturned by the North Carolina Court of Appeals which said the Rutherford County Department of Social Services did not properly bring the case to trial.

Word of Faith Fellowship
The Word of Faith Fellowship is an abusive church. Its teachings and practices fall so far outside those of normal, Biblical Christianity, that this church should be considered to be, theologically, a cult of Christianity. Sociologically, the WOFF has many cultic characteristics as well.

The two boys were returned to the custody of the Covingtons after the Court of Appeals’ ruling. Muse had left her children in the custody of the couple after Muse decided to leave the controversial Spindale-based institution and seek counseling in Ohio.

Muse signed a temporary custody agreement with the couple at the time, but has been actively trying to get her children back since.

With the DSS effort to get her children out of the WOFF failed, Muse has revived a civil custody suit to get her children back.

Two of Muse’s sisters, Cindy Cordes and Suzanne Cooper, are WOFF members and have taken part of various visitations over the years and have been involved in the care of the children.

DSS and various former WOFF members have over the years accused the WOFF leadership of allowing child abuse in the name of religion.

Those allegations include the use of strong prayer or blasting where a person is usually seated in the center of a group of people who use loud screams or sounds to force demons out of the seated subject.

Most church members, including children, have been blasted various court testimony has revealed.

The WOFF most recently won a settlement with DSS after filing a more than $2 million federal discrimination lawsuit against the agency.

The settlement paid the WOFF $305,000 and included a number of stipulations and hurdles the agency must now clear in order to investigate allegations of child abuse at the WOFF.

Attorneys who have represented the Covingtons and Sarah and Rachael Almanie, Muse’s two daughters, have filed for reimbursement of legal expenses incurred during the custody and emancipation proceedings.

They are asking for reimbursement from DSS of $273,000 in fees.

DSS claims asking for the reimbursement violates the spirit of the settlement reached on the federal lawsuit.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Daily Courier, USA
Aug. 23, 2005
Jerry Stensland

Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday August 23, 2005.
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