May 01, 2005

Woman triumphs in lawsuit against church


By Linda Leicht
News-Leader staff

A jury of 10 women and two men recommended an award of $2 million to Teresa Norris in her lawsuit against the West Missouri Conference of the United Methodist Church Friday night.

Norris and her husband, Sid Norris, sued the conference, claiming that church officials failed to act on warnings about a pastor Norris alleges later raped her.

After six hours of deliberation, the jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of Norris. The jury also ruled that the conference is liable for punitive damages. Those damages will be decided Tuesday afternoon when the jury will return to hear more testimony on that issue.

Norris told the jury that she was raped by David Finestead, former pastor of Campbell United Meth-odist Church, on the night of March 25, 1998, in her office at the church. She served as director of music ministry at Campbell from Sept. 1, 1997, to April 28, 1998.

Posted by kshaw at May 1, 2005 08:31 AM