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Ecclesia Head Plans ‘Spiritual Consecration’

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From United Press International

The founder of the Ecclesia Athletic Assn. said Sunday he was beginning 40 days of private prayer to help him better explain the group’s goals and what led to his 8-year-old daughter’s death.

Eldridge Broussard Jr. spoke to reporters at Portland International Airport after greeting his father, Eldridge Broussard Sr., who arrived from Los Angeles, where Ecclesia and its parent group, the Watts Christian Center, were founded.

Four adult members of the religious athletic training group are scheduled to go on trial next month on manslaughter charges in the Oct. 14, 1988, beating death of Dayna Broussard, 8, at a group home near Sandy, east of here.

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“I want to say very emphatically that it is my conviction that my daughter was not beaten to death,” Broussard said Sunday. “If she was, I would be the first person to turn those people in.”

Children Taken Into Custody

The Oregon Children’s Services Division took 53 Ecclesia children into protective custody after the girl’s death. They alleged the youngsters had been subjected to systematic beatings, sometimes with electrical cords.

“What I will be doing over the next 40 days is that I will just be separating myself from a lot of normal activities,” Broussard said. “It is a spiritual consecration.”

Broussard said on Jan. 2 he was shutting down the Watts Christian Center because accusations he is a cult leader had made fund raising difficult.

On Sunday, Broussard said his father’s decision to come to Oregon for a brief visit, their first meeting in more than four months, was “a signal for me to go ahead and begin to lay the groundwork for what I believe will be the real understanding of what happened to my daughter.

‘I Need More Time . . .’

“The situation has gone so far now that I need more time to be with the Lord,” he said. “Because when I come forth again, I’m going to need more clarity than I’ve had so far to get my point across and try to get the message of who I am, what we’ve been trying to do here and, in fact, what happened to my daughter.”

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Broussard said he will attend no meetings, public gatherings or interviews for the next 40 days.

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