Four years ago, a woman made a Facebook post accusing Dallas’ megachurch pastor Rickie Rush of sexual assault. The post led to multiple allegations of sexual and physical abuse to arise against him.
Now, Dallas police have brought to prosecutors a criminal case against the 61-year-old evangelist and founder of Inspiring Body of Christ Church, The Dallas Morning News reports.
In January 2018, Renee Phillips, 45, posted a story on Facebook detailing how Rush, who was her pastor and high school theater arts teacher at the time, touched her inappropriately and sexually assaulted her when she was 15.
Police said that the case involves multiple accusers. Identities of the accusers were not released, nor were the details of the allegations against the pastor provided. However, his alleged abuse goes as far back as the mid-1990s.
Rush, through his lawyers, has denied all allegations brought against him, saying that his accusers are trying to buttress potential lawsuits through law enforcement. He described the allegations as “ludicrous.”
Rush’s lawyer Michael Heiskell said on Monday that he had shared results of a polygraph test Rush took last year with police and the DA’s office. Heiskell said the results of the polygraph test showed that Rush’s denials were truthful and had no deception in them.
Polygraphs are inadmissible in Texas courts as they are considered unreliable.
Phillips, the first to go public with the allegations, told The Dallas Morning News that she is relieved to know that they are on their way to getting justice for the “pain that was inflicted” on her and other alleged victims.
“Now I understand how imperative it is to speak out. It’s never too late. You never know how your story connects with other silent voices,” she said.
Phillips’ older half-sister, Donna Fields, and her son, Marcus Bell Jr., are two others who accused Rush of abusing them sexually or physically when they were younger. Fields, 48, said that Rush raped her in a school closet when she was 16 and pregnant.
Bell said that the pastor raped him at the church when he was 13 around the year 2007. The now-27-year-old man also alleged that Rush beat him over the course of a week. While police deemed Phillips’ and Fields’ cases too old to prosecute, they decided to pursue Bell’s case.
Assistant chief of the Dallas Police Department, Reuben Ramirez, said that the department has packaged everything needed for the grand jury to indict Rush.
However, it was reported that Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot said on Friday that he didn’t know when the matter would be brought before a grand jury due to the pandemic.
Reportedly, another of Rush’s victims, Ebony Davis, welcomed the news that a case had been sent to the DA. Davis, 30 years old, said that the pastor repeatedly handcuffed and beat her when she was a teenager. “The things he did to me have left me traumatized for life,” she said.
As of the time of this report, Rush continues to preach in his church.