A jury has ordered the Rev. Ralph D. West II to pay $2.45 million to a woman who says he infected her with genital herpes five years ago. West is a campus minister for The Church Without Walls in Houston, Texas.
After deliberating just over six hours, the jury unanimously found West liable for damages. The trial lasted three days, with a verdict reached on Thursday, October 12, according to KPRC-TV.
The publicly unidentified woman filed a lawsuit against West, alleging that he lied to her about being STD-free. She said West knowingly spread the virus to her when they had unprotected sex in March 2018.
God can reward us and we have an opportunity to serve and use our gifts! Keep on giving and don’t give up because you might be a moment away from your golden moment pic.twitter.com/aj9PpdGNBV
— Rev. Ralph Douglas West II (@RalphDWestII) February 3, 2020
The pair met on Facebook and began dating at the time, the woman testified. A few days after having unprotected sex with the Christian minister, the woman developed an outbreak of herpes.
West initially denied having genital herpes, but court documents were convincing enough for the jurors to believe the woman. The documents included remarks by West claiming that his son’s mother had infected him with the STD, according to the victim’s attorney.
West is a minister at The Church Without Wall’s Eldridge campus, according to the church’s website. His Twitter profile, however, describes him as “Minister of Assimilation at The Church Without Walls.”
His father, Dr. Ralph Douglas West, is the founder and senior pastor of the church. The Church Without Walls claims on its website to “[embrace] thousands of families meeting in three locations and conducting six services each Sunday.”
While West’s exact age is unknown, a March 2023 celebratory video states that he has been preaching for 20 years.