Bishop sues fellow bishop over rape allegations

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ATLANTA - A bishop filed a lawsuit today in Atlanta against another bishop in the same denomination in a case alleging rape and lies.

The plaintiff bishop told Channel 2’s Jeff Dore why he is suing a fellow man of the cloth.

In at least two places, the New Testament tells Christians not to go suing each other, but in this lawsuit, one bishop in the Church of God in Christ is suing another.

Bishop Larry Shaw and his attorney said the case began 12 years ago when a woman wrote a letter accusing Shaw of rape and other vile crimes.

When asked if anything in the letter was true, Shaw replied, "None."

Shaw said the church investigated and determined it was nonsense, a failed ploy to cost him a church election.

“I made bishop after that because they proved that the letter was nonsense,” Shaw said.

Then last year, Shaw got into a dispute with Bishop John Sheard of Detroit, who is the chairman of the executive board of the Church of God in Christ. Shaw is secretary.

“When I refused to back down, he said, ‘If you don't back down, I have a negative letter that could affect your career,’” Shaw said.

The lawsuit alleged the Detroit bishop hired a Fulton County blogger to post the 12-year-old letter online.

Shaw is now suing them both for defamation.

“The day that my granddaughter came to me and said, ‘Paw paw, what are you doing on the Internet?’ That brought me to tears to know that my grandchild knew about this misinformation,” Shaw said.

Shaw said he wants the letter removed from the Internet and for the court to award damages.

Sheard's attorney told Dore Sheard had nothing to do with the blogger posting that letter. He said Shaw doesn't want his reputation harmed and yet, he pointed out, Shaw and his attorney are the ones who called the media.