Huffpost Religion

Pennsylvania Church Kidnaps Teens, Holds Them At Gunpoint, For 'Learning Exercise' (VIDEO)

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The Glad Tidings Assembly of God church in Middletown, Pa., has sparked outrage after a teaching exercise traumatized its youth group and left some with physical bruises, WHTM TV reports.

A shaken 14-year-old told the station two men came into the room with guns, pulled pillow cases over some of their heads, and pushed them into a van.

"They pulled my chair out from underneath me and then they told me to get on the ground," the unnamed girl tearfully told WHTM. "And I was the first person to go into the van. I had my hands behind my back they said 'just do as I say and you won't be hurt.'"

The "kidnapped" youth group was then taken to their pastor's house, where it looked like the minister was being attacked.

The girl showed the station the bruises she suffered from the event, and claims the men laughed while she cried in the van.

Despite claims from officials that the incident was only meant to teach teens what it's like to be a persecuted Christian missionary, there could be serious repercussions for the church.

"It's actually quite serious," First Deputy District Attorney of Dauphin County Fran Chardo told the station in a separate report. "False imprisonment of a child, someone under the age of 18, is a second-degree felony punishable up to 10 years [sic] in prison."

Since the teens never agreed to take part in the "lesson," church officials could be in legal trouble for the incident. WHTM also reported the man who "kidnapped" the teens was an off-duty cop, using a real, but unloaded, gun.

In the midst of potential legal ramifications, Andrew Jordan, the church's pastor, told WHPTV he will still continue to carry out this lesson, but he will ask for parental permission.