RELIGION

Ex-church members say probe welcome after abuse allegations

  • FILE - In this 2012 provided by a former member of the church, Word of Faith Fellowship leader Jane Whaley, center left, holds Jeffrey Cooper's infant daughter, accompanied by her husband, Sam, center right, and others during a ceremony in the church's compound in Spindale, N.C. The AP story, released Monday, March 6, 2017, cited nine former Word of Faith members who said Frank Webster and Chris Back provided legal advice, helped at strategy sessions and participated in a mock trial for four congregants charged with harassing a former member. The ex-congregants also said that Back and Webster, who is sect leader Jane Whaley's son-in-law, helped derail a social services investigation into child abuse in 2015 and attended meetings where Whaley warned congregants to lie to investigators about abuse incidents. (AP Photo, File)

    FILE - In this 2012 provided by a former member of the church, Word of Faith Fellowship leader Jane Whaley, center left, holds Jeffrey Cooper's infant daughter, accompanied by her husband, Sam, center right, and others during a ceremony in the church's compound in Spindale, N.C. The AP story, released Monday, March 6, 2017, cited nine former Word of Faith members who said Frank Webster and Chris Back provided legal advice, helped at strategy sessions and participated in a mock trial for four congregants charged with harassing a former member. The ex-congregants also said that Back and Webster, who is sect leader Jane Whaley's son-in-law, helped derail a social services investigation into child abuse in 2015 and attended meetings where Whaley warned congregants to lie to investigators about abuse incidents. (AP Photo, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this 2012 photo provided by a former member of the church, Jeffrey Cooper holds his infant daughter at her 2012 baby dedication at the Word of Faith Fellowship compound in Spindale, N.C. At second right is Frank Webster, an assistant North Carolina prosecutor who is married to church leader Jane Whaley's daughter, Robin, left. At right is Frank Webster's son, Brock. At second left is Jeffrey Coopers' wife, Natalie. A district attorney has asked the state to investigate two assistant prosecutors after an Associated Press story that quoted former congregants of a North Carolina church as saying the men derailed criminal probes into allegations of abuse by sect leaders. The AP story, released Monday, March 6, 2017, cited nine former Word of Faith members who said Frank Webster and Chris Back provided legal advice, helped at strategy sessions and participated in a mock trial for four congregants charged with harassing a former member. (AP Photo, File)

    FILE - In this 2012 photo provided by a former member of the church, Jeffrey Cooper holds his infant daughter at her 2012 baby dedication at the Word of Faith Fellowship compound in Spindale, N.C.¬†At second right is Frank Webster, an assistant North Carolina prosecutor who is married to church leader Jane Whaley's daughter, Robin, left. At right is Frank Webster's son, Brock. At second left is Jeffrey Coopers' wife, Natalie. A district attorney has asked the state to investigate two assistant prosecutors after an Associated Press story that quoted former congregants of a North Carolina church as saying the men derailed criminal probes into allegations of abuse by sect leaders. The AP story, released Monday, March 6, 2017, cited nine former Word of Faith members who said Frank Webster and Chris Back provided legal advice, helped at strategy sessions and participated in a mock trial for four congregants charged with harassing a former member. (AP Photo, File)  (The Associated Press)

A district attorney has asked the state to investigate two assistant prosecutors after an Associated Press story that quoted former congregants of a North Carolina church as saying the men derailed criminal probes into allegations of abuse by sect leaders.

David Learner said Wednesday that he wants the State Bureau of Investigation to look into the accusations against his employees, who are members of the evangelical Word of Faith Fellowship church.

The AP story, released Monday, cited nine former Word of Faith members who said Frank Webster and Chris Back provided legal advice, helped at strategy sessions and participated in a mock trial for four congregants charged with harassing a former member.

The ex-congregants also said that Back and Webster, who is sect leader Jane Whaley's son-in-law, helped derail a social services investigation into child abuse in 2015.