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San Diego megachurch is sued for sex harassment

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Six women sued San Diego's Rock Church Ministries on Thursday, saying they were sexually harassed at a drug and alcohol recovery program associated with the megachurch.

The lawsuit says the Rock offered counseling and housing to women in a program led by David Powers, who is accused of repeatedly fondling residents and making lewd sexual advances. The lawsuit seeks damages for sexual battery, sexual harassment and other claims.

The Rock said the accusations are troubling but that none of the alleged behavior occurred on its property or by anyone under its authority. The church said it stopped referring women to Powers' ABC Sober Living after learning of the allegations Monday.

Powers didn't respond to a message from The Associated Press but KNSD-TV reported that he denied the allegations.

The Rock was formed in 2000 and says about 12,000 people attend its Sunday services. It is led by founder Miles McPherson, a former defensive back for the San Diego Chargers, who is not named as a defendant.

The lawsuit filed in San Diego Superior Court names Rock Church Ministries, ABC Sober Living and David and Tina Powers as defendants. It says the church's “Rock Recovery Ministry” featured Powers' residential treatment programs.

Taylor Peyton, a plaintiff who was treated for heroin addiction, said Powers aggressively pursued her, groped her and had sexual contacts. She eventually reported his advances to San Diego police.

San Diego police conducted an investigation involving Powers and a woman and decided against pursuing criminal charges, said Lt. Mike Holden, who declined to name the woman.

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