In the News

Judgment ordered against former “Jesus Saves” church pastor

By SANDRA K. REABUCK for the Tribune Democrat
September 2, 2008

EBENSBURG — Members of the small Chickaree Union Church in Jackson Township, known as the “Jesus Saves” church, have obtained a judgment for about $50,000 against their former pastor.

Judge Norman Krumenacker signed an order Tuesday allowing a judgment against the Rev. Randy Rugh of New Alexandria and his new nonprofit church that uses the same Chickaree name.

Rugh, who could not be reached for comment, repeatedly has maintained that he had the authority to cash in the church’s certificates of deposit to benefit the new corporation.

The judge’s order came in a civil lawsuit filed against Rugh in 2006 by19 members of the small Jesus Saves church. They complained that he had depleted the church’s treasury.

Ebensburg attorney Timothy Burns, who represents the congregation, said the members are satisfied with the judge’s ruling.

“I doubt the congregation ever will be able to collect it, but the judgment is entered against him and his nonprofit. It will always be hanging over him,” Burns said.

“They (church members) are not vindictive, but they wanted justice,” Burns said. “This brings some closure to the case.”

At one point, criminal theft charges alleging that Rugh illegally cashed a church CD for $23,540 had been filed.

But the charges were thrown out in November by Judge David Tulowitzki, who said the issue was a civil case.

Tulowitzki ruled that there was no evidence that Rugh took the money for his personal use.