Reports began to surface Monday that the gospel singer James Fortune (pictured) was being sued for a reported $5 million for abusing his then-4-year-old stepson back in 2001 and disfiguring him. Fortune pled guilty to the felony charge of injury to a child and received a six-year deferred adjudication. Now the biological Father of the victim, who is now 15 years old, wants Fortune to pay for the plastic surgery that could correct the disfigurements.
According to the lawsuit, the tragic turn of events began when Fortune picked up his wife Cheryl‘s son from preschool. When the teacher told Fortune that the child misbehaved, he allegedly became infuriated. The man of God reportedly yelled and berated the child for his mischievous behavior, gave him time out, then prepared a scalding bath for him.
The lawsuit, which also names Cheryl, contends that Fortune then demanded that the little boy remove his clothing so that he could “whip the child with a switch.” The man then forcefully submerged the boy in extremely hot water and held him down.
The child’s injuries were so extensive that he had to be flown to two hospitals for treatment. The permanently disfigured child remained at a hospital in Galveston, Texas, for 63 days, where he received various skin grafts for his hands, buttocks, genitals, and legs.
Now, in response to his reignited scandal, the man who believes his mission is to draw lost souls to Christ has issued a response:
I recently became aware of a civil suit pending against my wife, Cheryl Fortune, and I, for an incident that occurred in 2001 involving my stepson. There was a criminal investigation and all matters were resolved in 2003. Since that time, my family and I, including my stepson, have continued with family traditions and always have a loving family environment.
We are shocked by this lawsuit but understand people are free to use the court system to pursue claims, whether they contain merit or baseless matters. We are confident through this process, if it proceeds to a judge or jury, the ultimate decision maker will render a decision that is favorable to the circumstances and timing surrounding this situation. We believe in our American justice system and know it will work for us as it has for millions of other Americans.
I love all my children, including my stepson, and I ask for your prayers as we deal with this matter privately. Thank you for your continued support for me, my family, and ministry.*
Fortune is the former Minister of Music for Houston’s mega-church Higher Dimension. Besides being a recording artist, Fortune is a songwriter and producer. He and his group Fiya have received multiple Stellar Awards and are recognized for their songs “I Believe” and “I Trust You.”
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