A woman who says she was raped and impregnated as a 15-year-old by a member of her church – and then forced to read a letter of apology aloud to the congregation – is now seeking justice from the courts.
Jury selection starts Monday at Merrimack Superior Court in New Hampshire in the case against Ernest Willis, who prosecutors charge raped Tina Anderson twice in her home in 1997, leaving her pregnant, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported.
The then-teenager was then compelled by leaders of the Trinity Baptist Church to apologize for becoming pregnant with a married man’s child, the Concord Monitor reported.
Willis, now 52, has admitted to the sex, but claims it was consensual.
Anderson, now 29, who asked media outlets to publicly identify her to draw attention to the case, told police the church’s pastor, Charles Phelps, spirited her away to another church member in Colorado in an effort to muddle a police investigation back in 1997.
Anderson gave birth in Colorado and put the child up for adoption.
The case was rekindled last June when a Concord police detective contacted Anderson – now married with three children in Arizona – after stumbling on a Facebook page with the details, The Associated Press reported.
“It needs to be done. Justice needs to be done,” Anderson told the AP.