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Tremont Sheldon Robinson Mahoney Sues Bethel Connecticut Walnut Hill Community Church for Sex Claims

A Bethel church has been accused in a lawsuit of turning a blind eye to sexual assaults on young girls by its former youth minister. In the lawsuit filed Tuesday in stateSuperior Court in Danbury, the family of a girl says leaders of the Walnut Hill Community Church allowed Matthew Anastasia to be in a position where he could get close to girls even though he had been arrested for harming one. "The minor plaintiff and her family looked to the church as a safe place to worship and find spiritual peace and instead a 13-year-old girl was deceived and harmed," said lawyer Cindy Robinson, with the Bridgeport law firm Tremont Sheldon Robinson Mahoney, who is representing the family. Church officials did not immediately return calls and emails for comment. Anastasia's mother, Janice, is the Children's Ministry Team coordinator for Walnut Hill, and his father, James, had served as a church elder. Both are named as defendants.

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