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Abuse Survivor Sues Pastor Who Said He Could 'Heal' Her PTSD With Sex

Amy McClanahan of San Diego is suing John Wright, a pastor and university professor, for sexual battery and rape.

Sirin Kale

Sirin Kale

Photo by Zocky via Stocksy

A San Diego woman is suing her former pastor for sexual battery and rape, alleging that he coerced her into sexual acts by telling her they would cure her PTSD.

Amy McClanahan has accused John Wright, a pastor and Point Loma Nazarene University professor, of repeatedly manipulating her into sexual intercourse after claiming he had the ability to cure her PTSD. 10News reports that McClanahan has now gone public with her story to encourage other survivors of sexual misconduct to step forward.

McClanahan first met Wright in 2014, when she was his student at Point Loma. “I took a class from him and he offered up that I could come to his church,” the 23 year old told 10News.

She subsequently attended Wright’s church, the Church of Nazarene in Mid-City, and grew to think of him as her mentor. When she disclosed details of her childhood sexual abuse to him, he allegedly claimed to be able to "heal" her.

“I think he did because I was in a very vulnerable state,” McClanahan told 10News. They began meeting regularly, and a sexual relationship developed. In text exchanges provided to 10News, Wright “promises” her that “all the trauma will wash away” when he performs a sex act on her.

McClanahan also provided 10News with an audio recording of a person she purports to be Wright, apologizing for his alleged misconduct. “I thought I was healing you,” a distressed male voice sobs on the recording. “I’m sorry."

Court documents filed by McClanahan against Wright set out her allegations against more fully. “At all relevant times, A.M. [Amy McClanahan] did not or could not consent to any acts of sexual intercourse or any other sexual acts because Wright used his position of authority over her and his knowledge of her past as a victim of sexual abuse to coerce her into acts she would not have otherwise consented to," the lawsuit reads. "Wright used emotional, verbal, and physical force to coerce A.M. into having sex with him on hundreds of occasions under the guise that he was helping to heal her PTSD."

The lawsuit states that McClanahan suffers physical, mental, and emotional injuries as a result of his misconduct.

Wright and his wife, identified only by the initial "K" in court filings, are counter-suing McClanahan and seeking damages for the intentional infliction of emotional distress. Court documents allege that she also violated the California penal code by recording Wright without consent when she recorded a phone conversation and screengrabbed an image of his genitalia during a Skype chat.

Their lawsuit claims that the sexual relationship between McClanahan and Wright was consensual and ended after Wright refused to date her in public. It states that "she intended to get revenge against [John Wright] for ending his relationship with her" and claims that McClanahan repeatedly harassed the couple, including an incident in which she disrupted a church service in December 2017 by “verbally attacking and threatening" Wright's wife and "physically pushing" another pastor.

The Wrights have secured temporary restraining orders against McClanahan, whilst McClanahan is additionally suing the Church of Nazarene in Mid-City for negligence and hiring and managing Wright. 10News reports that Wright has also been suspended from his academic and pastoral responsibilities.