Ministry leader in Texas used Bible to normalize sexual abuse of blind student, lawsuit says

Kate Linderman, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Religious News

A ministry group leader is accused of using religion to groom and normalize the sexual abuse of a blind college student, a Texas lawsuit says.

Daniel Savala has a history of sexual abuse accusations dating back to the 1990s and has registered as a sex offender since 2013, according to the lawsuit filed this week.

Savala is currently in a Harris County jail facing sexual assault and indecency charges involving children, according to jail records. His attorney did not immediately respond to McClatchy News’ request for comment.

The lawsuit alleges ministry group Assemblies of God and religious fraternal organization Chi Alpha Campus Ministries created the “perfect haven” for Savala to sexually abuse people beginning in 2017.

“He used (religion) as part of his grooming process to normalize the sexual abuse, and he used religious text in order to make it seem normal and would say things like, ‘Nudity is unity,” the victim’s attorney Anjali Nigam told KTRK.

Chi Alpha is a co-ed Pentecostal ministry group sponsored by Assemblies of God, according to their website. They operate on nearly 300 college campuses.


Reached for comment by McClatchy News, Assemblies of God deferred to a February statement, in which it said it was “heartbroken to hear” of the allegations against Savala.

“The General Council of the Assemblies of God takes matters of this nature seriously and will do everything we can to help,” the statement read.

The victim began studying at Sam Houston State University in 2013 and continued to study there to receive his master’s degree after graduation. He joined Chi Alpha’s chapter in Huntsville and occasionally went to Savala’s home in Houston for “mission work,” according to the lawsuit.

The “mission work” often included home repair work on Savala’s home, according to the lawsuit.


swipe to next page

©2024 The Charlotte Observer. Visit at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


blog comments powered by Disqus