Continuance granted in sexual assault case against Texas City minister

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Apr. 27, 2011, 11:40am


GALVESTON – The parties in a $25 million sexual molestation lawsuit targeting a Texas City minister recently had their agreed motion for continuance granted.

Galveston County 122nd District Court Judge John Ellisor ruled to approve the motion on March 22, postponing a jury trial from May 2 to Sept. 26.

An elderly Texas City woman in late 2009 sued the Rev. Morris Joseph "Skip" Ehrlich III; First Presbyterian Church of Texas City; Presbytery of New Covenant Inc. and Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for alleged false imprisonment and sexual assault.

The plaintiff, who is referred to in court papers only as Jane Doe, accuses Ehrlich of molesting her twice between May and August 2009 while he was pastor at First Presbyterian Church. She blames the church and its governing entities for not taking preventative action in the wake of the alleged incidents.

Claiming she had no choice but to stop attending services after 60 years, the complainant is seeking damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish, medical expenses and has requested a jury trial.

Attorney Darrell A. Apffel of Galveston is representing the plaintiff.

The defendants and Doe filed the request March 17 because they were not ready for the trial "as there is additional discovery to be completed and the parties have not had an opportunity to participate in a mediation conference," court papers say.

The case was elevated to the Galveston Division of the Southern District of Texas, but was later sent back down to the state district level by U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt.

Case No. 09-cv-2229

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