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A second lawsuit has been filed against two former senior pastors at Santa Maria's Church for Life, accusing the couple of sexual battery, gender violence and harassment.

The civil suit, which was filed in Santa Maria Superior Court by three women on March 7, also accuses the church of not listening to their concerns.

The filing against Robert and Cindy Litzinger follows an initial suit in July 2017  by an unnamed female parishioner called only Jane Doe. The suit claimed that the pair used their leadership roles to "cultivate an atmosphere within Church for Life, through which he (Robert Litzinger) could satisfy his sexual fetishes."

The attorney for the Litzingers, Paul Greco, said Thursday that the couple denies all the accusations in both civil suits and said he plans to file a general denial in coming weeks. 

"We deny all the claims, and we'll present our case in court in the future," Greco said. "Once everything emerges, the public can make their own determination of what's going on." 

The Litzingers stepped down from their positions with the church two years ago, and have since moved out of state. No criminal charges were ever filed against the couple or the church stemming from the initial suit.

The new lawsuit, naming plaintiffs Jane Does 2, 3 and 4, accuses the Litzingers of similar crimes. The suit also alleges that Church for Life "failed to investigate claims made by women in the years preceding Robert (Litzinger's) ouster in June 2016, instead, adopting Robert's explanations without question."

The suit seeks financial damages over $25,000 for sexual harassment, assault, gender violence, battery, and states that the plaintiffs suffered emotional stress, humiliation and depression. 

"Church for Life also turned a blind eye towards Robert's teachings in its 'purity' classes and pre-marriage courses for years," according to the complaint filed by Santa Barbara attorney Jordan T. Porter. "Church for Life leadership was consumed with spiritualizing sexual conduct and sexualizing everything about the church was ingrained in church culture," the suit states.

The suit further accuses Church for Life of negligence and creating an environment "where Robert could prey upon young women in fulfillment of his sexual desires," and blames church leadership for refusing to discipline Robert Litzinger.

Does 2 through 4 had absent fathers, and Robert was an overly affectionate father figure to Does 2 through 4, the suit continues. This way, he would excuse his inappropriate conduct "as the normal way fathers treat their daughters, and explain that plaintiffs' unease was the result of their lack of experience and/or emotional distance in their earlier familial relationships," the suit added.

Jane Doe No. 2

At one point, according to the suit, Doe 2 was invited to move in with the Litzingers, and the couple treated her like their own daughter. Shortly before Doe 2 moved away for college "Robert instructed her to break up" with her boyfriend, the suit states.

Doe 2 returned to Church for Life after college, which is around the time the church began expanding, the suit continues.

"Robert began suggesting he and Doe 2 have 'Dad snuggles' and 'Dad time,'" the suit states.

During this time, the Litzingers in their teachings, "became more explicit about their sex lives," and talked openly about masturbation and insisted others share personal details as well, the suit added. 

At one of the Church for Life's retreats, conversations kept focusing on sex, the suit said. "Sex toys were displayed in a toiletries welcome basket in the event room bathrooms," according to the complaint. 

Later, Doe 2 became pregnant, and the Litzingers invited her over to their home and would ask her for photos of her nursing her baby, the suit states. They began sending nude pictures of themselves to her, and forbade Doe 2 to tell her husband about it, the suit said.

The conduct continued through June 2016 until the couple left the church, according to the suit. Church for Life flew in a pastor from a Montana-based church where Robert Litzinger trained, to investigate the concerns, but "the investigation consisted of victim shaming and bullying the victims for their sins and roles in Robert and Cindy's actions," the suit said.

The church has denied any criminal wrongdoing, and refused to release any further information to authorities except upon request, the suit said.

Jane Doe No. 3

Doe 3 was 19 when she interned at Church for Life for nine months, and lived with the Litzingers while 1,300 miles away from her parents, according to the suit. She was subjected to daily "Dad back rubs," which seemed normal until Robert Litzinger began unhooking her bra without her consent, the suit states.

Litzinger also forced Doe 3 to break up with her boyfriend, claiming that he was having an affair with her mother, the suit continued. He threatened to kick her off the internship if she didn't comply, the suit states.

Litzinger then began discussing masturbation with Doe 3, asking what she thought about it and how frequently she did it, the suit continues. Both Robert and Cindy Litzinger then began insisting Doe 3 join them for nightly "Mom and Dad snuggles" in their bed, the suit states.

As time went on, the couple frequently asked Doe 3 for photos, and would often leave their laptop computer open in the kitchen "with nude pictures of Robert and Cindy engaged in sexual acts on display for Doe 3 to find," the suit states. 

Litzinger reportedly also told Doe 3: "What happens in the Litz house stays in the Litz house, because not everybody will understand what we do." 

Jane Doe No. 4

Doe 4 never lived with the Litzingers but was often invited to the couple's home for lunch after she began attending Church for Life in early 2016, according to the suit. Immediately afterward, Robert Litzinger urged Doe 4 to openly discuss sex, and invited her to "share her boy troubles with her 'Dad,'" the suit said. 

Doe 4 later asked Robert Litzinger if she could join his purity classes, the suit states, to which Robert agreed. During those classes, he would talk to Doe 4 about masturbating and watching pornography "in order to strengthen her faith and become like Cindy, a true woman of God," the suit reads.

The classes culminated with a purity ring ceremony, the suit continues. Shortly afterwards, the Litzingers would send Doe 4 a photo of Cindy flashing the camera with the message: "So this is what you have to look forward to someday in a healthy, hot marriage (winking emoji)."

Doe 4 immediately reported the couple to church elders, rather than members of the church leadership team, the suit adds, resulting in the Litzingers' removal from the church in June 2016.

The civil case returns to court July 9 for a case management conference.

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Gina Kim covers crime and courts for Santa Maria Times. Follow her on Twitter @gina_k210


Courts/Public Safety Reporter