Pentecostal Preacher Sherman Allen Turns Out to Be Reverend Spanky

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Allen asked her if she had a Bible, and she went to her bedroom to fetch it. Meanwhile, Joy says, Allen sent away her 4-year-old daughter with money to get something from the ice cream truck. Her recollections are hazy, she says; she believes Allen might have drugged her.

While Joy was in her bedroom, she says, Allen crept up behind her and touched her. The police report describes what followed in unadorned language: "[Joy] ran toward her bedroom door in an attempt to escape. However, Bishop Allen caught [Joy], threw her facedown on the bed, and struck her with the...paddle across her buttocks 16 times. Bishop Allen counted each blow aloud..."

Allen ordered Joy to remove her shorts, the report says. Then he held her down on the bed, braced a 3-foot black wooden club against his stomach and drove the smaller end into her rectum. Joy fell from the bed onto the floor in excruciating pain. She tried to scream but couldn't, she says; she thought about jumping out the second-story window. Allen unzipped his pants and sodomized her, the police report says.

"I remember lying on the bed, and the next thing I know I'm really crying out, asking God to help me...I was really afraid. And I remember next lying on the floor...seeing his shoe beside me, and I remember looking back so I could see him. He was pushing this stick into my rectum..."

She tried to pray, she says, "and I remember trying to say 'Jesus.' I remember him putting his hand on my mouth and cussing me." He called her a whore, she says. "You ain't nothing but a bitch. You gonna be a prostitute. You gonna be a cokehead."

After the attack, he stood her up in front of the bathroom mirror, she says. He demanded that she look at herself. "'This is what God told me to do to you,'" she says he told her. "I remember him holding my eyes open, making me look in the mirror.

"I didn't want to look," she says. "I didn't want to live. I didn't want God. I didn't want nothing. I just wanted to die."

At the end of the ordeal, Joy slumped naked in a love seat while Allen washed up, she says. She was bleeding and black and blue. Later that day, she would be in too much pain to sit down, she says, and she suffered internal injuries.

Joy reported the attack to police but only after leaving town for several days to hide out in her grandmother's house. She was terrified that Allen would return. Police filed an aggravated rape charge against Allen, and Joy picked him out of a live lineup. Allen began lurking around her home and following her in his mint green Mercedes, she says. Fearing for her daughter, she abruptly stopped cooperating with prosecutors, and the charge was dropped.

Joy, now 45, called Kelly's lawyers soon after the suit became public. She is deciding whether to file suit on her own. "I've been living alive in hell," Joy says. "Couldn't even be married. My daughter became my mother."

Carrie Drake spent her teenage years in Allen's church, going all the way back to his Spiritualist days; she recalls seeing a statue of Mary "fade in and out" of view during a service, "crazy stuff," she says. Today, she claims she is shunned by the Shiloh faithful, including her mother. When she took her account of alleged abuse to COGIC leaders, Drake says, Allen booted her out of Shiloh "because of all the confusion" she'd caused. She remembers running into a Shiloh member at the supermarket who abruptly wheeled her cart around and went the other way.

In the early days of Allen's ministry, mothers would sometimes cede discipline of their children to Allen, who assumed the role of a spiritual father, Drake says. She claims her mother gave Allen a permission slip allowing him to whip her. In counseling sessions for supposed problems such as bad grades, an ornery attitude or hanging with the wrong crowd, Allen would beat her with a wooden paddle to the point where her buttocks became hard as a callus, Drake says. The paddling allegations are raised in a lawsuit that Drake, now 42, filed in late November against Allen, Shiloh, the Church of God in Christ and unidentified church officials.

Drake was 13 when the beatings started, she says; Allen would have only been in his late teens, though he was already ministering. Allen, she says, always found some excuse to discipline her: Her mother often acted as informant.

She'd grab her ankles and bend over, she says, then hold down her dress and brace herself. Later on, he began ordering her to disrobe first, the lawsuit claims. "I would almost be sick," she says of the beatings, "but that didn't make any difference to him...It took forever and a day for me to be able to actually sit down."

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Julie Lyons
Contact: Julie Lyons