FORT MYERS, Fla. - The family of the young boy who died after he was struck by lightning is now suing the church and school where it happened. Jesse Watlington's family and attorneys claim negligence lead to the 11-year-old's death last month. They say his death was a result of negligence, carelessness and recklessness on the part of McGregor Baptist Church and Southwest Florida Christian Academy.
October 3rd, Jesse Watlington was on his way to football practice at Southwest Florida Christian Academy when lightning struck him in the chest. Despite efforts to save his life and prayers from around the world, Jesse passed away days later.
Now, his family is suing, according to the attorneys, to "expose the flagrant violations, misconduct and negligence of McGregor Baptist Church and Southwest Florida Christian Academy."
The details still have yet to be revealed, but Thursday, Jesse's father Chuck Watlington addressed Senior Pastor Richard Powell on his Facebook page saying:
"Please tell me why you, and all 14 of your Asst. Pastors at McGregor Baptist Church, have never once came to our home to pray with us, or comfort us in our time of grief ? NOT ONCE since Jesse's funeral... And why does some of your staff members, who used to greet us with hugs, NOW look the other way when we're on your campus? Now we know the answers to these questions... We, and others in the Church and the School, are so disappointed in you, and are hurt by your dishonest actions."
We contacted Pastor Powell who told us quote, "We are praying for this family as they grieve the loss of their son."
Fort Myers attorney Joseph Viacava explains that in a negligence case, it comes down to what a reasonable person could've done to prevent an action from happening.
"Were proper precautions taken with respect to weather? Was there certain type of equipment that could've been put up to protect the person from being killed?" Viacava said, "and usually it's a notice requirement, was there some type of notice that this could have been prevented."
Pastor Powell did confirm that at the time of the strike, lightning detectors around the fields did not indicate any danger.
Since the lawsuit was announced, some have voiced their own opinions on the Pray for Jesse Watlington Facebook page.
One person said:
"Deeply sorry for your loss. COMPLETELY disagree with what the news is suggesting is your response."
"It's a shame that you're suing the (CHRISTIAN) school that your son attended for such a freak accident, as if it's their fault."