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Father Under Fire: A Westlake Church Rallies Around its Pastor After Charges that He Sexually Abused His Adopted Daughter

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On this past May 28, the Endreis and the Church on the Rise were thrust into the spotlight with a blistering set of headlines. A Lorain County grand jury indicted Paul and his son Jordan for allegedly sexually abusing Paul's adopted daughter. The incidents in the felony counts cover 2005 to 2013 with only one specific date — July 14, 2013 — listed. The daughter was born in 1996 and adopted when she was 3.

Paul Endrei declined to comment for this story, instead referring questions to church elder Fred Bobel. Jordan Endrei declined to comment as well, as did Lorain County prosecutors who said they don't comment on open cases.

It's not easy to piece together a picture of the family life at the Endreis and the adopted daughter's day-to-day life, but records obtained by Scene begin to suggest a girl who, once she became a teenager, exhibited behavior that indicated something wasn't quite right. Avon police were no strangers to the Endrei household, and records show frustrated parents and developing signs that the years from 2009 on were anything but blissful for the daughter.

In February 2010, the girl's middle-school teacher called Children Services to report "a possible rape" of her student. It's unclear why the teacher suspected a rape had occurred, but a brief police investigation showed the incident with a 16-year-old neighbor was not rape but simply consensual activity. However, the police report highlighted tension in the family:

The school called and notified [the girl's] parents (Paul & Patti Endrei) about the allegation. They both came to the Middle School and talked with us. Mr & Mrs Endrei were rather concerned over the allegation because they stated that [the girl] lies all the time and has tried to get every member of their family into trouble with her lying.

In May 2011, Paul and Patti went to the police station "with questions concerning their 14 year old daughter who is unruly." They said she grabbed her mom's breast and reached for a knife and threatened to kill her mom after she was confronted about "some of the items" that Patti "believes the girl has been keeping in her backpack." She was sent to her room, and then police showed up. This police report further describes the girl's behavior:

On the station [Paul] then described this kind of behavior from [the girl] has been getting progressively worse the last year or so. He states she refuses to listen, clean her room, and has been intentionally urinating on her bed and floor area. She has been seeing a doctor about once a month but has not been diagnosed with any disorder nor does she take any medication.

They stated she has been sexting boys on her cellphone and has been getting naked via skype to unknown boys all over the country. She has been leaving the house in the middle of the night to have sex with unknown boys until an alarm system was installed and armed when the family goes to bed. Her grades have been slipping this year to all D's and F's. They have birth control injected into her arm every 4 months to prevent a pregnancy...

Upon my arrival at the home address along with Ptl. Elias we observed a spotless well kept home until we entered and spoke in [the girl's] room. I observed a filthy stained rug with dirty soiled underwear strewn about the floor. The stench of urine was evident.

We then asked [the girl] what happened earlier this afternoon and she stated her mom wouldn't stop bugging her. When I asked about her threat to kill her mom she said "Yeah, but I didn't mean it." [The girl] was scared and crying at this time. She states she is just so mad at everything but would not specify.

Just four months later, the girl was arrested by Avon police after she physically attacked her mother, who had questioned the teen about stealing her iPhone. The police report states the girl had attacked and began "punching her mother in the back of her head with her closed fist." She briefly stayed at a shelter instead of at home.

But home is not where she wanted to be. In April 2013, she ran away, and was entered into the law enforcement database for missing juveniles. The police report documents the facts that Paul had taken her phone from her for "sexting," but he would not provide the phone for police or tell them where it was. It also shed some light on how the daughter fit into the broader family.

...  While speaking with Paul he could not remember [the girl's] date of birth. When asked for a photograph of [the girl] he could only provide a family portrait that she was in, yet there were individual pictures of their four other children on the walls and elsewhere in the residence.

She returned home two days after she sneaked out, telling police she ran away with a guy "because of a verbal argument with her parents."

***

Three months after the girl ran away, the bomb would drop.

July 14, 2013, the only specific date listed in the indictment, is the date records show the girl reported her father.

According to Avon police dispatch logs from that day, "CHILDREN SERVICES WILL BE ATTEMPTING CONTACT AT THE RESIDENCE AT APPROX 7PM. REQ AN OFFICER STAND BY ... THIS IS FOR A JUVENILE FEMALE MAKING ACCUSATIONS AGAINST A FAMILY MEMBER....CHILDREN'S SERVICES DID AN INFORMAL INTERVIEW AND HAS REMOVED THE CHILD FROM THE HOME....THEY WILL SEND US A REFERRAL TOMORROW."

Paul Endrei wouldn't be indicted by a grand jury for another 10 months, but in the weeks following the girl's accusations, Avon police and Lorain County Children Services went to work interviewing the alleged victim, family members, friends of the family, childhood friends, female church associates, and Paul Endrei's younger sister Joy, the latter of whom, friends of the family say, is sympathetic toward her adopted niece and more questioning of her brother than his flock.

Sources say Avon detectives had been contacting friends of Paul's younger sister, apparently to establish a pattern of Paul being "inappropriate" with minor girls he had "access" to. One childhood friend of Paul's younger sister said she received a call from detectives out of the blue. She was always over at Joy and Paul's childhood home in Shaker Heights, but lost touch when the Endreis moved to a different neighborhood.

"They were asking if anything sexually improper happened from Paul when we were little," she said. "Did Paul ever do anything improper in front of me, did I ever witness anything, did he ever do anything to me? No. There was nothing that struck me. He was so much older than us, the big brother running around."

Also included in the list of evidence are a six-page report from a Lorain County Children Services' social worker, an email the girl sent to her, Facebook correspondence between the girl and others, a photograph of underwear, and a document called "Indicators of Child Sexual Abuse."

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