by Al Bloomfield
Saturday April 8, 2017
SUMMERFIELD, FLORIDA – One would imagine that a church sponsored, church oriented daycare facility would be a safe place to leave one’s most precious little darlings. In theory that is certainly the truth. But in practice a few bad apples have threatened over the years to endanger the reputation of the entire applecart. Case in point was the Royal Child Academy in Summerfield. It was sponsored by Open-Door Community Church and Evangelical Bible Mission – a tiny far right evangelical congregation whose intergroup of members have been described by some as cult-like.
Back in 2010, as is the case now, Open-Door Community Church was led by Gerald T. Bustin and Wendy D. Gallegos. One of their employees at Royal Child Academy, David Lanham, served as the assistant VPK teacher. He spent his time unsupervised with four and five-year-olds for much of the day during the school year. According to Marion County Sheriff’s deputies, from around June 2009 to March 2010 David Lanham committed approximately 17 sexual acts upon, or in front of, a small child. A warrant was issued for his arrest on four counts of lewd and lascivious molestation, 12 counts of lewd and lascivious exhibition, one count of lewd and lascivious conduct, and one count of child abuse. He turned himself in on March 26, 2010 and pleaded no contest (rather than innocent) at his trial.
Rather than distance themselves from the suspect in support of the victims, Gerald Bustin and Wendy Gallegos backed the sex offender – David Lanham. Their church’s lawyer was secured to handle David Lanham’s defense. Even until this day, Mr. Bustin and Mrs. Gallegos still seem to support the word of a convicted sex offender against that of his many victims.
Sources for information for this report included the Ocala Star Banner.
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