Lawsuit filed against former Colbert County children’s pastor and church

TUSCUMBIA, Ala. -- A lawsuit has been filed this week in Colbert County against a church and its former children’s pastor, who has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting children in the congregation.

The suit has been filed by one of the victims who alleges years of sexual abuse.

A 10-page lawsuit filed in Colbert County Circuit Court names Jeffrey Dale Eddie and Highland Park Baptist Church as defendants. The lawsuit contends both Eddie and the church should be held responsible for their negligence.

In March of 2014, Jeffrey Dale Eddie pleaded guilty to multiple counts of sodomy, sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12, and possession of child pornography. He was sentenced to 30 years in state prison.

Eddie had been employed for 16 years as children’s pastor at Highland Park Baptist Church.

According to the lawsuit filed by “John Doe", Eddie sexually abused him over a four-year period beginning in 2009 at the age of 12.

The suit claims the abuse happened on the church campus as well as on church-sponsored trips.

In the filing, attorneys stated Eddie victimized children at the church over a 13-year period.

Under Count Nine, Highland Park Baptist Church is accused of failing to adequately train its staff, volunteers, and employees regarding the identification and reporting of child abuse.

The suit is asking for compensatory and punitive damages to be determined by a jury.

Jeffrey Dale Eddie is currently serving his sentence in the Bibb County Correctional Facility.

According to courthouse records, this is the third lawsuit filed by a victim who has come forward saying Eddie sexually abused them.