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Minnesota youth pastor suspended over allegations of misconduct

The son of the senior pastor at Vineyard Church in Duluth, Minnesota, has been suspended pending an investigation into allegations of misconduct from a few years ago.

On Sunday, January 29, the Vineyard Church released a statement informing its congregation and the public of the issue. It doesn’t specify what type of wrongdoing was committed, but a woman who accused Gatlin identifies as a victim of sexual assault.

Myrissa Overfors, the victim, shared on Facebook what this issue was for her and that she is working with investigators and other victims who have made the same allegations as her.

“The past day has been a struggle. Most of you have seen that Vineyard Church in Duluth, Minnesota and its senior youth pastor, Jackson Gatlin, are under investigation for sexual misconduct. I was attacked by him too. It was sexual in nature. And the rest of the details remain private.
I am currently working with your investigators and I think this could be a long battle for his other victims and myself. Sending us all positive thoughts and prayers as you have faith in the months ahead. I am sure we will all need it. If you have fallen victim to this predator, you are not alone.”

The Church has contacted Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE) to conduct an independent investigation.

The Duluth Police Department is also supporting the investigation.

“One of our values ​​is transparency, but we will not comment further on the allegations at this time because we need to protect the ongoing investigation and any victims.” Accountability and integrity are also key values,” the statement said. “When the investigation is complete, we expect to have more to say and we will say so. In the meantime, let us reassure you that the safety of our communion is of vital importance to us and we have policies and procedures in place to protect it. Duluth Vineyard has suspended Jackson Gatlin pending this investigation.

Despite the allegations against Gatlin for being the son of senior pastor Michael Gatlin, the church is careful to ensure each party remains independent. Michael Gatlin will continue to work with the Church throughout the investigation process.

The Church Council (the legal board) has formed a special committee made up of third parties – none of whom work for The Duluth Vineyard or have any connection with any employees. The Select Committee consists of Ben Mork (Chairman), Ann LaCosse, Jerry Lieffring and Gerry Kidney Garden.

John Kliewer, the designated support staff for the committee, will serve as the liaison between the senior pastor and the special committee.

Because his son is the focus of this investigation, Michael Gatlin assured church members that he would not be leading the investigation.

“I have full confidence in the team involved: the Select Committee members tasked with overseeing this process; our church council, our senior leadership team, our staff and our leaders. I also have full confidence in the Lord’s guidance in this difficult time,” said Senior Pastor Gatlin.

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