BREAKING: Gospel Artist James Fortune being Sued for Child Abuse, Permanently Disfiguring 4-Year-Old
By EEW News Editors
Stellar Award-winning gospel artist, James Fortune and wife Cheryl are being sued for $5 million dollars for Mr. Fortune’s abuse of his 4-year-old stepson. Documents say after the young boy misbehaved in school, the gospel singer made him take a scalding bath, resulting in severe burns and permanent disfigurement.
The My Fox Houston report is posted in its entirety below:
HOUSTON (FOX 26) - A popular gospel singer is accused of doing horrible things to his 4-year-old stepson. Now he's being taken to court.
According to a civil lawsuit, gospel music singer James Fortune burned his stepson leaving the boy disfigured with severe burns over nearly 50% of the child's body. Fortune, who is from and still lives in the Houston area, is named in the lawsuit with his wife Cheryl Fortune.
According to the suit filed against the couple, James picked up Cheryl's 4-year old son from pre-school and the teacher said the boy "misbehaved by coloring on a table". The documents claim the gospel singer "scolded the toddler" on the way home, put him in time out at home, "continued to yell and berate the child" then started "preparing a scalding bath" for the 4-year old boy.
The lawsuit goes on to say "James instructed (the child) to remove his clothes and began to whip the naked toddler with a switch". Then the suit accuses James Fortune of "pushing the toddler in the scalding water and holding him down causing second and third degree burns to 47% of his body". The little boy was flown by "life flight to Memorial Hermann Hospital. The doctors determined the injuries were too extensive and the boy was flown by life flight to Shriners Burn Hospital in Galveston where he remained for 63 days" according to the lawsuit.
The boy has had "numerous skin graft operations to both hands, legs, buttocks and genitals and is permanently disfigured". Child Protective Services was called and charges were filed. That all happened in 2001. In 2003 James Fortune pled guilty to felony Injury To a Child and received 6-years deferred adjudication.
That 4-year old boy is now 15-years old and his biological father is suing the Fortunes for five million dollars. The family says that money would be used to pay for plastic surgery to correct the boy's disfigurement from the burns. I tried to reach James and Cheryl Fortune but I haven't yet heard back from them. James Fortune is also the former choir director at Houston's Higher Dimension Church.
Updated 2:52 PM
James Fortune has issued a statment regarding the incident:
I recently became aware of a civil suit pending against my wife, Cheryl Fortune and I, for an incident that occurred in 2001 involving my stepson. There was a criminal investigation and all matters were resolved in 2003. Since that time, my family and I, including my stepson, have continued with family traditions and always have a loving family environment. We are shocked by this lawsuit but understand people are free to use the court system to pursue claims, whether they contain merit or baseless matters. We are confident through this process, if it proceeds to a judge or jury, the ultimate decision maker will render a decision that is favorable to the circumstances and timing surrounding this situation. We believe in our American justice system and know it will work for us as it has for millions of other Americans.
I love all my children, including my stepson, and I ask for your prayers as we deal with this matter privately. Thank you for your continued support for me, my family, and ministry.