A suit recently filed against the Keyport Bible Church and the wife of Richard Gerjets alleges that the church and Gerjets’ wife failed to prevent inappropriate sexual contact between Gerjets and three minors between 2009 and 2013.
Gerjets faced two criminal charges of child molestation in the second degree in 2017. He died before the conclusion of that trial, however. On Oct. 3, the plaintiffs from the 2017 trial filed a civil suit seeking an unknown amount for damages. The plaintiffs allege that the Keyport Bible Church and Andrea Gerjets failed to protect them from Richard Gerjets’ “proclivity to engage in inappropriate sexual contact with minor boys.”
Furthermore, court documents claim that the church’s former pastor, Michael Chinn “and other agents and governing members of Kitsap Bible Church knew or should have known that Richard Gerjets … posed a danger to plaintiffs. Keyport Bible Church failed to fulfill its duties to exercise reasonable care to protect plaintiffs from harm caused by Richard Gerjets.”
Documents from the 2017 criminal case against Gerjets paint a picture of a trusted member of the congregation who frequently hosted young boys at his home.
“He helped people a lot with physical labor, watching their children, taking kids hunting, swimming, boating, shopping, buying their kids gifts, providing them landscaping jobs to earn money for Mission trips, teaching them woodworking, etc. Over the years the families have developed friendships, having Gerjets over for dinner and entrusting him with the care of their children,” reads a statement of probable cause by a Kitsap County sheriff’s detective.
Documents also paint a picture of a man who cultivated an environment that would appeal to the young boys as well, keeping a stocked refrigerator, television and sleeping lofts in his treehouse as well as a camper trailer outfitted with television and gaming devices.
“Gerjets provided a fun place for teenage boys to hang out on his property and sleep over in the trailer and treehouse,” the documents read.