Pastor Danny Tice of Bay Shore Community Church allowed a convicted sex offender to keep his job instead of terminating him immediately. Tice also neglected to tell his church and staff of the risk. Matthew Burton would allegedly go on to kidnap, rape and murder Nicole Bennett, who was the director of the church's day care center. Oops...
In his wrongful death suit, Kevin Bennett says Tice is at fault because he never alerted his wife that Burton had a violent criminal history.
"The death of Nicole Bennett was a direct and proximate cause of the negligent actions of Tice, who was acting in the scope of his employment when he failed to adequately warn Nicole Bennett of the risk presented by fellow employee Burton, and this failure led to Nicole Bennett's death," the suit states. The Bennett family is represented by Wilmington attorney Bart Dalton.
Nicole Bennett, 35, was devoted to her family and her church. On June 14, she called home to let them know she would be working late at the church to finish up a day-care mailing. She was left alone with Burton.
It looks like Pastor Danny Tice is about to lose his church, and possibly everything he has to his name. What was the right thing to do here? I think the answer is obvious.
The church responded…
"a background check was performed on Matthew Burton and based on that information, the church determined Burton was not a risk to employees or others at the church."
I hope the church and pastor realize they are being sued for what they did after learning of Matthew Burton's crimes. A reasonable person would have fired Burton and paid two weeks severance.