Church sued over firing of worker who testified against Terry Hornbuckle

ARLINGTON — A former church employee who testified against Terry Hornbuckle during his sexual assault trial filed a federal job discrimination lawsuit against Agape Christian Fellowship on Friday.

In the suit, Lisa Fuller alleges she was sexually harassed by Hornbuckle, the pastor, and wrongfully terminated.

Fuller, who was hired as an executive assistant by Hornbuckle’s wife in July 2000, says in the lawsuit that she was fired because she would not lie to a Tarrant County grand jury.

Hornbuckle instructed Fuller to tell members of the grand jury that rumors of him sleeping with women other than his wife, using drugs and misappropriating funds were started by disgruntled employees, according to the lawsuit.

Terry Hornbuckle was convicted of sexual assault last month and is serving a 15-year prison sentence.

Charles Richardson, church board president, declined to comment Tuesday, saying he had not seen the lawsuit or talked to the church’s attorneys about the legal action.

The lawsuit states that Hornbuckle began sexually harassing Fuller in February 2004, using explicit sexual language in several of their conversations.

He told Fuller that “she had to sell him” to the grand jury like the man he was or else she would “be out of here the first of next week,” the lawsuit says.

On April 23, 2005, Fuller’s direct deposit was canceled and her pay withheld, according to the lawsuit. On May 28, 2005, Fuller was told in writing that she would be receiving her last payroll check, the lawsuit says.

Before her termination, Hornbuckle told Fuller that she did not “have his back” and demanded to hear everything she told the grand jury. Fuller refused to share her testimony with Hornbuckle, which led to her being fired, the lawsuit states.

Staff writer Mark Agee contributed to this report.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday September 27, 2006.
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