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Continuing Coverage: El Centro church leaders accused of abusing rehab patients

A look at the rules victims had to follow

EL CENTRO, Calif. - A day after federal charges were brought out against an El Centro based ministry, we are taking a look at specific rules set by the church for victims to follow while in the drug rehabilitation homes. 

The Imperial Valley Ministries (IVM) had the victims fill out a sign-in sheet  that included an agreement that their participants had to follow.

According to the documents provided to News 11 by the Department of Justice, victims could only leave the house with permission from the director, and had to be accompanied. Victims were not allowed to leave by themselves. 

The rules also stated that there could not be any communication with other family members within the first 30 days, unless they were at the church.

According to the documents all victims also had to turn over any I.D.'s, money, personal items, or important papers to the director of the house they were staying in.

Each victim was assigned a counselor who provided the victim with any information they needed. 

The victims were also told they could not discuss things of the world.

Documents also showed that they had to pay a 10 percent tithe (tax to church), 30 percent to the home that was to be given to the church general fund, and the remainder would be put away by the director. None of the victims were allowed to hold any of their own money, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The victims were also allegedly told they could not go to the front yard unless the counselor allowed them to. They were also only allowed to read the Holy Bible.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said if any of the victims disobeyed and broke any of the rules they were not fed. One victim was even denied insulin medication, according to the DOJ.

None of the rules that were listed applied to the pastor or his family.


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