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Riverside County boy assaulted at Bible study, witness says

 A 13-year-old boy was tortured multiple times in a church-run group home, including being assaulted during a Bible study at his pastor’s Corona home, court documents show.

A witness reported in affidavits for search warrants several allegations involving Lonny L. Remmers, pastor of Heart of Worship Community Church, and two men who lived in one of Remmers’ group homes, Nicholas J. Craig and Darryll D. Jeter Jr.

The alleged incidents occurred in March and included Craig and Jeter driving the unidentified boy to a desert and forcing him to dig his own grave for more than an hour. They allegedly hit him with a belt and threw dirt on him before returning to the group home.

While the boy was showering, one of the men allegedly rubbed salt into the cuts on his back. Witness Steven Larkey, who lives in the group home, told investigators he could hear the boy screaming and saw blood all over the shower the next day.

The boy, who was later taken into protective custody, also told police he had been stripped, tied to a chair and sprayed with Mace. Because he was not allowed to wash or cool off with water for half an hour, his nose began to bleed, and his thrashing from the pain caused the blood to splatter.

Craig and Jeter were allegedly directed by Remmers to “scare” the boy, who told police his mother placed him in the all-male home because he was “being disciplined for his behavior and not accepting responsibility for his actions,” records show.

The boy’s mother and sister, who live in a home for women, are members of Remmers’ church.

The boy also was taken to a Bible study in Remmers’ home, where he was told to sit in the center of a circle of about a dozen men. Remmers then allegedly pinched the boy’s nipple with pliers, making him scream.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise recently obtained the court documents after asking a judge to make them public. Det. Brad Vorhees, a member of the California Sexual Assaults Investigators Assn., had asked that the documents be sealed because releasing them could jeopardize the investigation.

Defense attorneys said the release of the documents may affect the jury pool, jeopardizing fair trials for the defendants.

Remmers, charged with assault with a deadly weapon and inflicting corporal injury on a minor, and Craig and Jeter, charged with kidnapping and assaulting the boy, among other crimes, were arrested last month and pleaded not guilty, according to the Press-Enterprise.

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-- Rosanna Xia

 
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