Posted: Nov 26, 2012 3:59 PM by Andrew Ellison - email@example.com
Updated: Nov 26, 2012 4:46 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI - We have a 6 Investigates Follow-up on the power struggle within the Peoples' Baptist Church. As we've reported, a group of former church members are in a legal fight with the current church leadership over who should have control of the ministry. A preliminary hearing on the case was heard today, mainly to select a jury and go over some pre-trial motions.
And while today's hearing simply set the stage for the trial tomorrow, emotions were high among a group of former and current church members who aren't happy with the current leadership.
One of their main concerns is current pastor Earl Mitchell, who took over the church in August. He was accused of child abuse when he was the minister of a boy's home in North Carolina.
When we talked to Mitchell, he told us the charges are false.
So we tried to talk with Jim Murphree, one of the men trying to remove the current church leadership. He declined to comment.
We talked with a supporter of Murphree and his group, Gloria Cox. She used to be a member of the church administration and says the problem goes back to the previous pastor, Roy Cowger.
Murphree's group accuses Cowger of misusing church funds. Cox says when she and others spoke out against Cowger, they were fired.
"That was our life, and to have what we were doing taken away from us was very difficult," Cox says.
Cox says the goal of Murphree and the others is to save the ministry's reputation, and that the accusations that have followed the current pastor Mitchell, aren't good for the church, whether he's guilty or not.
"They want to get the ministry to a respectable point. To where it can be trusted... It should be a safe place. A safe, happy place, but with that looming out there, its not," Cox says.
The hearing that will likely determine who gets control of the ministry is set for tomorrow.
Do you have a tip, information about a breaking news story, or a story idea for 6 Investigates? Contact the KRIS 6 News Desk at 361-884-6666 or send us an email.
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