ARLINGTON — Agape Christian Fellowship, the Arlington church rocked last year by the rape conviction of founder and former pastor Terry Hornbuckle, filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday.
The church is facing seven civil lawsuits, said Davor Rukavina, a Dallas bankruptcy attorney hired by the church.
The church filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. “This is to reorganize and to address the suits and creditors in an organized process,” Rukavina said Tuesday in a telephone interview.
Hornbuckle was convicted in August of raping three women, including two church members, and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
The pending litigation includes three civil lawsuits filed by Hornbuckle’s victims, two by former employees and two others — one in federal court and one in state court, said Rukavina. He said he had no specifics about the suits.
“The church’s finances are solid,” said Rukavina.
In a prepared statement, Charles Richardson, president of the church’s board, said: “We believe that a reorganization will provide us with an opportunity to promptly and fairly address these problems from our past, enable us to move forward to a brighter future that will allow us to accomplish our vision and protect the interests of our members who continue to remain faithful to the church.
At its peak, before the rape trials, the church claimed to have 2,500 members. Richardson said membership now totals about 500.
Richardson declined to answer other questions.