A California pastor who made headlines for praising the June 12 massacre of 49 people at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub is facing a lawsuit in connection to an alleged assault outside his church in July, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Though Verity Baptist Church pastor Roger Jimenez was not directly involved in the July 6 incident that sparked the suit, claimant Spenser Fritz is seeking to hold him responsible for the actions of his parishioners. Fritz says that the pastor’s sermons inciting violence contributed to a parishioner shoving and threatening him.
“Are you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today?” the pastor of Verity Baptist Church said in a sermon following the Orlando massacre. “Um no, I think that’s great! I think that helps society. I think Orlando, Florida is a little safer tonight.”
He continued: “I wish the government would round them all up, put them up against a firing wall, put a firing squad in front of them, and blow their brains out.”
In the lawsuit, Fritz, who has protested outside the church since June 19, claims that the pastor’s anti-gay rhetoric led parishioner Johnny Cervantes III to push and intimidate him.
According to the Sacramento Bee, Fritz says he engaged with Cervantes’ family, encouraging the young man accompanying Cervantes and his wife to educate himself:
“Why are you teaching your children violence?” the suit said he asked. It states that Fritz then said to a “young parishioner” that “Sometimes when we’re older we learn our parents are wrong. I don’t deserve to die. If they allow you internet access you should do your own research.”
Fritz claims that the woman told him to stop talking to the young man, after which Cervantes allegedly became aggressive, telling Fritz, “Don’t (expletive) talk to my wife.” The protestor goes on to say that Cervantes responded by lunging toward him and pushing him.
He additionally alleges a group of other parishioners surrounded him and only let him pass after he threatened to call the police.