Local church hires third-party investigator after accusations of abuse and cover-up

Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 9:36 PM CST
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BLOOMINGTON-NORMAL (25 News Now) - One of central Illinois’ largest churches, with a congregation in the thousands, is bringing in a third party to review how church leaders investigated allegations of abuse.

In recent days, a series of allegations were made by past members and staff of Eastview Christian Church in Normal. The church also has a Bloomington campus.

The allegations specifically address alleged instances of misconduct against adult women by Caleb Baker, a former pastor and son of Senior Pastor Mike Baker, who resigned last month. Mike Baker said there was nothing to investigate.

Church leaders say they did not call for Mike Baker’s resignation.

Church leadership is accused of covering up the abuse, which dates back to 2016.

Eastview’s leaders now acknowledge the allegations raise concerns about the culture and health of the church seven years ago to the present.

“The Elders and ECC leadership are committed to responding to these allegations in a godly way that prioritizes truth and the safety and healing of past and present staff members of our church, and others who may have been harmed by abuse or an unhealthy culture,” a statement posted to the church’s website.

ECC is encouraging victims to reach out to church-provided counselors, church elders or the third-party investigators.

The third-party investigation by Wagenmaker & Oberly is expected to be completed in three months.

25News has not received a response from the law firm or Eastview Christian Church.

Normal Police Chief Steve Petrilli and McLean County State’s Attorney Erika Reynolds both say they know of no criminal investigation tied to the situation at Eastview.