May 26, 2005

Church looked at in beating death

Cincinnati Enquirer

By M.R. Kropko
The Associated Press

ASHTABULA, Ohio - In this tight-knit northeast Ohio city, the death of Carolyn Clark on Mother's Day weekend was story enough: Police said her estranged husband beat her head with the stock of a rifle in front of the youngest five of their 13 children.

But then talk intensified as news spread about legal papers Carolyn Clark had filed in a custody dispute she won a few days before her death, accusing leaders of the couple's church of sexual and physical abuse against members, including children. Clark said she was trying to get her young children away from the church, which she accused of brainwashing her husband and older children.

Now prosecutors are investigating whether the Apostolic Church Body of Jesus Christ of the Newborn Assembly had any role in her death. Social services officials are looking into the abuse allegations.

"This murder happened, and it might have kicked over a rock and there's some sunlight shining down now," Ashtabula County Prosecutor Thomas L. Sartini said.

Posted by kshaw at May 26, 2005 07:54 AM