|Filmmaker Jaime Prater|
photo by Nancy Stone, Chicago Tribune
A recent lawsuit and a new video documentary raise allegations of sexual abuse in decades past in a cloistered, evangelical commune in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood.
Heather Kool, 38, who now lives in Georgia, alleges in the lawsuit that she was abused in the 1980s by members of Jesus People USA, one of the last vestiges of a religious movement that emerged in the renowned “Summer of Love” of 1967.
The lawsuit names the commune and the Evangelical Covenant Church, a Chicago-based denomination that has considered the Jesus People one of its congregations since 1989. Kool’s lawsuit does not identify anyone who allegedly abused her.
The legal action sets the stage for a new documentary available Friday in which Kool and a half-dozen others share their accounts of alleged abuse at the religious commune.
“I loved being part of a family,” Kool said in the film, describing her growing up in the commune. Continue Reading