NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- A reverend at a church in Manhattan repeatedly sexually harassed a female pastor, sending her photos of his genitals and asking her to be his mistress, a new lawsuit claims.
Rev. Grace Nzameyo Maa filed a lawsuit against the Presbytery of New York City, the French Evangelical Church of New York on West 16th Street in Chelsea and Rev. Charles Atkins Jr. in Manhattan Supreme Court on Tuesday, court papers show.
The lawsuit claims Atkins, who was the church’s main pastor, started to sexually harass Nzameyo after she accepted a part-time position as a fill-in pastor at the church in September 2018. That fall, Atkins made a number of “inappropriate” comments to Nzameyo, the lawsuit charges.
“I love you and I want to build up this friendship and relationship. I gave you this ordination, I want you to be with me as my mistress. My wife isn’t giving it to me anymore” Atkins said, according to the suit.
Atkins also told Nzameyo he’d “like to get a blowjob from a cute pastor like you,” the suit claims.
Nzameyo repeatedly asked Atkins to stop harassing her, but he persisted, sending her three different photos of his genitals that fall, according to the lawsuit.
At a certain point, Atkins started to retaliate against her, the suit says.
“By way of example only, he refused to put Rev. Nzameyo’s name in the Sunday bulletin and he refused to allow her to participate in Sunday worship, including sacraments and communion, which were both part of her contractual duties and part of her religious beliefs,” the lawsuit says. “He also repeatedly called her a ‘stupid b---h’ under his breath while on the pulpit with her during worship services.”
Nzameyo filed a formal complaint with the Presbytery of New York City in February 2019, the suit says. The church terminated Atkins in May 2019, according to the lawsuit.
Since then, however, Nzameyo “has been subjected to a campaign of retaliation and subsequently barred at the (French Evangelical Church), the NY Presbytery and the Committee on Ministry… including by being kept from engaging in her contractual duties and preaching at the Church, in violation of and disregard for her contract,” the lawsuit claims.
The Presbytery of New York City didn’t immediately respond to request for comment on the lawsuit. Atkins couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.