CHARLESTON -- A Kanawha County woman is suing Open Door Baptist Church and the estate of a former pastor after she claims she was sexually assaulted.

Virginia Jarrell is the executrix of the Estate of Matthew Jarrell, who was pastor and president of the church and traveling to various locations in West Virginia and Pennsylvania holding revivals, giving guest sermons at local churches and attending Baptist meetings.

On May 19, Matthew Jarrell enticed E.B. into a 2007 Dodge truck owned by the church and drive to a secluded location, where he "brutally sexually assaulted and raped the plaintiff," according to a complaint filed Oct. 6 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

E.B. claims the church failed to perform or inadequately perform an appropriate background check on Matthew Jarrell and was otherwise negligent in handling the employment and retention of Matthew Jarrell.

Prior to May 19, members and representatives of the church knew that Matthew Jarrell had a history of criminal activity, including a charge of sexual assault for which trial was pending, according to the suit.

Matthew Jarrell later killed himself while being held in South Central Regional Jail.

E.B. is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. She is being represented by Bruce L. Freeman and Matthew A. Victor.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Louis H. Bloom.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 11-C-1773

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