Two teen girls suing church, allege molestation

Two teenage girls are suing Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church, alleging they were sexually molested by a youth choir teacher, it was reported Tuesday.

The girls - identified as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 - are seeking unspecified damages in their lawsuit filed Monday, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Lawyers for the girls contend church administrators knew of complaints against 27-year-old Gregory Starkey as early as 2004 and did not take steps to shield children from him or warn parents about the allegations, according to the newspaper. The church fired Starkey amid the earlier allegations but later rehired him, the Union-Tribune reported.

Starkey pleaded guilty to a charge of sexual abuse last year. He was sentenced to probation and required to register as a sex offender.

The plaintiffs are now 17 and 18, but claim the molestations took place in 2008, when they were both minors.

Attorneys for the church denied the allegations, the Union-Tribune reported.