#MeToo Movement Hits Point Loma Nazarene as Professor-Pastor Accused of Rape Placed on Leave

by on February 3, 2018 · 0 comments

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Pastor John Wright and Mrs. Wright outside courthouse on Feb. 2, 2018. Screengrab from abc10.

Pastor John Wright and Wife Counter Sue Accuser

The #MeToo movement has hit Point Loma Nazarene University where theology professor and pastor John Wright has been placed on a leave of absence pending an investigation after being accused of rape and sexual assault in a lawsuit filed in mid-January.

Former PLNU student Amy McClanahan filed a lawsuit on January 16, 2018, accused Wright, a former professor – and pastor – of hers, of using sex with her as a healing therapy. She has a type of PTSD. Wright is also pastor at the Mid-City Church of the Nazarene, which is also being sued along with 20 unnamed defendants.

McClanahan told 10News:

“When it came to us having sex, he said it was healing for me. [It was] healing my past trauma and I foolishly believed him.”

However, Wright and his wife – who is also a pastor at the church – have counter sued McClanahan, claiming to be victims and suing for illegal recordings and harassment.

Amy McClanahan. sceengrab from abc10.

It was 4 years ago that McClanahan met Wright as a student of his while he was a theology prof, at PLNU. She said:

 “I took a class from him and he offered up that I could come to his church. I looked up to him and he was someone I wanted to be like.”

In a recent article at lomabeat.com, an online campus media at PLNU, by Dana Williams and Andrew Eakes, they report McClanahan’s legal complaint – where McClanahan is identified as “A.M.” – alleges :

“… in 2014 Wright offered to heal her from PTSD that she told him she developed as a child as a result of long-term sexual abuse. She accepted the offer, according to the complaint, “thinking that [it] would be as a mentor-mentee relationship.”  A couple of years later, in 2016, it is alleged that the relationship escalated. …

“Whenever A.M. questioned Wright about their sexual relationship, Wright stressed to her that he was only doing this to ‘heal her’ from her childhood sexual abuse,” read the lawsuit. “He convinced her that it was a necessary part of the healing process and that she needed to continue with the sexual relationship in order to get better.”

While the relationship lasted for nearly a year, ending in October 2017, the lawsuit claims that A.M. did not consent to any of the sexual contacts made by Wright.

McClanahan became a member of Wright’s church. They exchanged emails and began to meet at parks and coffee shops. But it went from holding hands into a sexual relationship, according to the lawsuit.  The relationship ended in October 2017, the lawsuit states, and asserts McClanahan could not consent to the sexual contacts.  The complaint reads:

“At all relevant times, A.M. did not or could not consent to any acts of sexual intercourse or any other sexual acts because Wright used his position of authority over her and his knowledge of her past as a victim of sexual abuse to coerce her into acts she would not have otherwise consented to.”

“At the end of November 2017, an allegation of faculty misconduct was brought to the university’s attention. University leadership took the allegation seriously and immediately hired an independent firm specializing in Title IX and misconduct investigations. In accordance with established policy, the faculty member was placed on a leave of absence pending the outcome of the investigation.”

In their counter suit, Wright and his wife both allege they are victims, too. On February 2nd, they obtained temporary restraining orders against McClanahan.  Their suit claims McClanahan constantly harassed and disturbed them, once the sexual relationship ended. They are also suing her for recording confidential information and intentionally inflicting emotional distress.

Part of the lawsuit reads, “…she intended to get revenge against [John Wright] for ending his relationship with her…” which McClanahan denies and calls a lie.

Wrights’ attorney told 10News: “…Ms. McClanahan is attempting to use [the media] as a tool to humiliate, defame, and harass the Wrights…” He added, “…her cause has no merit…”

McClanahan’s attorney, Dan Gilleon, responded: “Unfortunately, in this world, we’ve seen it many times. What happens to the woman who comes forward is she gets attacked.”

Meanwhile, Point Loma Nazarene University has suspended John Wright, as it conducts its own investigation.

McClanahan is also suing Church of Nazarene in Mid-City for negligently hiring and supervising John Wright. 10News reported Wright is currently not listed as a pastor on the church website.

Lomabeat reports:

A post on Mid-City Church of the Nazarene’s Facebook page from Jan. 26, 2018 was written by a woman with the initials of A.M. and said, “So sad that our church, like many other churches unfortunately, stands by the Pastor instead of those [who] were victimized by his sexual abuse.”


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