West Ashley Salvation Army facing lawsuit following sexual abuse claims

The suspect Armando Gonzalez now faces several criminal charges.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) — Attorneys filed two separate lawsuits against the Salvation Army’s West Ashley location.

The McLeod Law Group filed the lawsuits on behalf of alleged victims of child abuse.

The firm claims both of its clients were abused over the course of about five years, starting at the age of four. We’re told the incidents happened while the two attended Sunday school and child care at that facility.

The suspect Armando Gonzalez now faces several criminal charges.

The attorneys involved in the lawsuit claim the salvation army should never have hired him based on his arrest record.

Following one of the victim’s reporting, Gonzalez confessed to the years of sexual abuse at The Salvation Army and was subsequently charged and arrested.

The Salvation Army of Charleston released the following statement:

In October 2015, a Salvation Army church member contacted The Salvation Army of Charleston corps officer and reported that a family member had been inappropriately touched in Sunday School class by another church member. Upon hearing the report, the Salvation Army corps officer immediately contacted law enforcement and encouraged the family to seek medical attention at the local hospital. In addition, The Salvation Army immediately banned the accused church member and family from Salvation Army properties and programs pending the outcome of the police investigation. The Salvation Army fully cooperated with law enforcement as they investigated the matter.

From the moment The Salvation Army heard the allegation, our first priority has been the care and well-being of those affected and their families. The Salvation Army guidelines do not tolerate sexual misconduct of any kind. We are committed to the safety of those we serve and will continue to refine our practices to ensure the safety of all who come through our doors.

Since 1906, The Salvation Army has been proud to serve Charleston with programs that change lives and meet the needs of our community. The mission of The Salvation Army is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, and meet human need in His name without discrimination. We are honored to be a part of this community and will continue this mission of service for years to come.

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