Boot camp officials face lesser charges

A judge Monday lowered charges against two Christian boot camp officials accused of dragging a teen behind a van in Banquete from a felony to a misdemeanor because of an issue with the indictment.

Charles Flowers, 47, a San Antonio church pastor, and Stephanie Bassitt, 21, were on trial for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second-degree felony. That offense is punishable by as many as 20 years in prison and as much as a $10,000 fine.

Defense attorneys Monday asked 347th District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos to lower the felony charges to simple assault, saying the van could not be considered a deadly weapon as described in the indictment. She agreed.

The Class A misdemeanor is punishable by as much as a year in county jail and as much as a $4,000 fine.

Flowers and Bassitt are accused of using a rope to tie trainee Siobahn McClintock to a van June 12 and dragging the then 15-year-old behind it.

Also Monday, Barbara “Bobby” Greer, who testified last week that she witnessed officials abusing the teen, said during cross examination that she is writing a book about the incident. She said she has become friends with the Floresville teen’s mother, Frances McClintock, who sued the boot camp.

Greer, who was working as a cook at the ranch, said she was asked to leave the ranch by the owners after she complained about the abuse.

Flowers and his wife are the founders and directors of Love Demonstrated Ministries, International boot camp, according to the organization’s Web site.

Testimony in the trial continues today in Gonzales Ramos’ court.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday April 29, 2008.
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