Dallas County’s district attorney has recused himself from the case brought against a megachurch pastor who was accused of physically and sexually assaulting members of his congregation.
According to The Dallas Morning News, a judge has appointed a special prosecutor in the criminal case against the pastor after Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot disclosed his personal relationship with the defendant.
Creuzot, in a court motion in January, asked that his office be disqualified from prosecuting the case, citing their work together on various community outreach projects. Creuzot added that their previous partnership could pose a potential conflict of interest.
According to previous reports on The Dallas Express, 45-year-old Renee Phillips posted a story on Facebook in January 2018 detailing how pastor Rickie Rush, her pastor and high school theater arts teacher at the time, sexually assaulted her and touched her inappropriately when she was just 15.
Following Phillips’ Facebook accusations, several other alleged victims came forward, claiming Rush had sexually or physically assaulted them.
According to police, some of the pastor’s alleged abuse goes back as far as the mid-1990s.
The latest developments mean Rush’s alleged victims have to wait even longer for the case to proceed while the new prosecutor, J. Brett Smith, a district attorney of Grayson County, familiarizes himself with it.
Smith, who will take over the case after Creuzot’s recusal, will determine whether to present it to a grand jury.
“The delays are frustrating,’’ Phillips said, according to the DMN. “When we think it’s one or two steps ahead, it’s several steps backward. Justice is prolonged. And Rush is still around kids.’’
Rush has denied all allegations and still preaches at Inspiring Body of Christ Church.
Michael Heiskell, Rush’s lawyer, said the allegations against his client were baseless and only a smear campaign on Rush’s “good name.’’