A former elder of Cloverdale Christian Fellowship Church has been charged with sexual assault.
On Thursday (Oct. 4) Surrey RCMP announced that 72-year-old Brian Batke had been charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of sexual exploitation.
The alleged incidents occurred in 2005, and were reported to police in 2017. At the time of the incidents, the victim was a minor.
According to RCMP, Brian Batke was a member of Cloverdale Christian Fellowship Church, known locally as Cloverdale Church, from its inception, but he ended his association with the church in 2005. However, online records show that he was a director of the Cloverdale Christian Fellowship Society, the registered charity which runs Cloverdale Church, from 2005 to 2007.
As a church elder, he would have held a position of authority within the congregation; the responsibilities of an elder depend on the tradition of the church.
Batke has worked as a bus driver with Coast Mountain Bus Company for 13 years. Following the announcement of the charges, a TransLink spokesperson said Batke has been placed on administrative leave and that “he will not be returning to active duty pending the outcome of the case.”
Surrey RCMP released details of Batke’s employment and association with Cloverdale Church “because of their relevance to the allegations against him.” Investigators believe that there may be other victims, who may have come into contact with Batke through his work as a church elder or as a bus driver, and they are asking any potential victims to come forward.
“Speaking with police about a sexual assault can be daunting and takes courage,” said Cpl. Elenore Sturko in a press release. “Our investigators are aware of how difficult this process can be for people. We approach our investigations with care and compassion including the assistance of our victim services support workers.”
To contact investigators regarding this case, call Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502.
Brian Batke has been a vocal citizen over the years, writing letters to various newspapers, including the Cloverdale Reporter. He often wrote on issues of justice. In one May 2011 letter, he responded to an incident in which two teenagers were stabbed on the playgrounds of a Surrey high school.
Batke wrote, “The community needs to have a deep look within itself and root out the individual(s) responsible and see that they are brought to justice… No parent who is the victim of a crime of murder against their son or daughter ought to bear the pain and agony of such an atrocity and not see that justice is done.
“Whoever did this needs to do the right thing and turn themselves in to the authorities.”
Batke, a Cloverdale resident, has been released on bail. He has a court appearance scheduled for later this month.
Third member of Cloverdale Church to be charged with sexual assault in last year
The news of the charges against Batke comes almost exactly a year after Surrey RCMP announced that former Cloverdale Church pastor Samuel Emerson and his wife Madelaine had been charged with sexual assault.
On Oct. 3, 2017, Surrey RCMP revealed that they had received several allegations of sexual assault against the Emersons in May 2017.
Samuel Emerson, 34, was charged with 13 counts of sexual assault, 11 counts of being in a position of authority and touching a person for a sexual purpose, and one count of sexual touching of a person under the age of 16.
Madelaine Emerson, 37, was charged with one count of sexual assault, one count of being in a position of authority and touching a person for a sexual purpose, and one count of threats to cause death or bodily harm.
The alleged assaults occurred between 2015 and 2017.
Sameul Emerson, son of current Cloverdale Church pastor Randy Emerson, was involved in the church from when it began in 1992. He was a youth pastor, and his work took him to churches throughout Surrey. Samuel and Madelaine Emerson’s association with the church ended on May 18, 2017, when RCMP arrested them.
Samuel and Madelaine Emerson were also released on bail, with conditions. Their trial is scheduled to begin in April 2019.