Rochester, N.Y.-- On Wednesday, testimony got underway in a trial against a local pastor who allegedly sexually abused a 12-year-old boy from 2007 to 2010.
Bishop Joe Flowers, founder of the Walk of Life Christian Center, is charged with second-degree course of sexual conduct against a child. The alleged abuse took placed in Flowers’ home and the boy also attended Flowers’ church.
In court, the 12-year-old victim described in graphic detail about how Flowers allegedly molested him in what Flower’s called the “Bonus room”. The boy said the abuse also took place in the shower.
After court, Joel, a relative of the alleged victim spoke to 13WHAM. The relative’s full name will be withheld to protect the identity of the boy.
Joel says it took a lot of courage for the boy to be able to take the stand on Wednesday.
“He's been okay, but today, he was kind of nervous and kind of scared,” says Joel. “No child should have to go through this. There was a period of time that he could be more open and now to come back and relive all of this stuff again? To him it's like it just happened yesterday.”
On the stand, the boy also revealed that he and his mom used to live at Flowers’ home for a period of time. The family says they trusted Flowers.
“He abused his right,” Joel says. “I feel as though he should get the maximum of whatever this can get him.”
The boy says he only told his friends at church about the alleged abuse, but eventually had told his mother. During questioning by the prosecution, he said “I can’t do this any longer. I couldn’t let him keep doing what he was doing to me any longer.”
The prosecution also called to the witness stand, a University of Rochester pediatrician who specializes in child abuse cases. She said that there were no visible injuries on the boy from the alleged abuse. However, the doctor said this was typical of most child sexual abuse cases because children wait a long period of time before reporting the abuse.
“As you heard the doctor testify today, only in 3 to 4 percent of child sexual abuse cases are any findings of child sexual abuse,” says Assistant District Attorney Sara Van Strydonck. “The fact that there were no injuries and specific findings in this case, as you heard the doctor say, is consistent with his disclosure.”
Joel says Wednesday was the first and will be the last time the boy takes the stand.
“In all reality he'll always think about [the abuse], no matter what we do,” Joel says. “You don't know what these kids will grow up to be affected by all of this. You're taking away all their choices to be a man or to be a woman. You're taking away their choice when you violate them like that.”
A new indictment also alleges that Flowers abused another boy who attended his church. The trial date for that case has not been set.
Witness testimonies will continue on Thursday.