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Judge Rejects Pastor's Request

A restraining order is issued in the dispute between brothers, one of whom admitted affair with the other's wife, at a church in Westminster.

June 26, 2003|David Reyes | Times Staff Writer

An Orange County pastor who admitted having an 18-year affair with his brother's wife was ordered Wednesday not to interfere, destroy records or remove assets from the Westminster church where he and his brother are ministers.

A request by Pastor Daniel Kruse, who had told his congregation of his "moral transgression," that his brother Jim and a board of directors at Crossroads Community Church be blocked from taking over church management was denied by Superior Court Judge James M. Brooks.

The scandal between the brothers has divided the congregation at Crossroads -- leaving it with two boards fighting for control. There have been disputes over who should keep collection-plate offerings, a change of locks, calls to the police to keep the peace and, finally, a court order this month to freeze church assets.

During Wednesday's hearing, the judge said he was not swayed by Daniel Kruse's claim of having church authority as a Crossroads board member.

Kruse resigned from the church April 22. But he changed his mind, returned to the church and created a new board, naming his wife and sons as members.

Kruse argued that he had "temporarily stepped down" as pastor, but had never resigned as a member of the board, which sets policy for the church.

The judge issued a temporary order restraining Daniel Kruse; his wife, Cherie; their sons, Dallas and Daniel Kruse II; and Kruse's sister and her husband, Gina and Eric Cables, from interfering with church management.

Under Brooks' order, they are prohibited from removing money or interfering with Jim Kruse or the board that supports him until a July 9 hearing when the judge will decide whether to make his decision permanent until a trial is held.

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