Woman claims she was injured at healing service

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - A woman is suing television evangelist Ernest Angley, his ministry and six employees, saying she was injured when she took her 94-year-old mother to a healing service.

Gloria DeFrancesco, 61, of Cleveland, alleges in her suit filed in Akron that in August 2001 Angley's workers blocked the pair from going on stage and assaulted her in the process.

DeFrancesco's lawsuit says she suffered a detached retina and is seeking more than $25,000 in damages. Her complaint was filed Tuesday in Summit County Common Pleas Court and assigned to Judge John Adams.

The business manager for Angley's church, Ray Spangler, who also is a spokesman for the Angley ministry, said Wednesday that no one at the church hurt DeFrancesco.

He said witnesses told police that she hurt herself "by taking a nosedive onto the pavement" outside the church and hitting her head on purpose on the dashboard of the car she entered.

He said a dispute occurred inside when the woman insisted on taking her mother, who was in a wheelchair, onto a platform where wheelchairs are not permitted. Spangler said Angley would have come directly to the woman's mother.

"She went off the brink. There were five or six ushers and she hit one of them and poked another in the groin with an umbrella point," Spangler said.

Church members and others attend Angley's services at Grace Cathedral in Cuyahoga Falls. Many appear on stage to receive a prayer and a healing touch from Angley.

DeFrancesco alleges in the lawsuit that she suffered head, nose and body injuries, which required a hospital stay and surgery.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)