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PASTOR'S NEW WIFE FINDS OUT SHE'S NO. 3.

Byline: Dana Bartholomew Staff Writer

Last spring, Robin Lea wed her perfect man, a pastor and church school principal, in the perfect place, Big Bear Lake, on the perfect day, 03-03-03.

There was only one hitch: The Rev. Terry Neven of Sunland Christian School was still married to someone else.

``He had me so assured that we were doing the right thing, that we were doing everything in a godlike way. He had me totally brainwashed,'' said Lea, 43, of Sunland.

Then Lea got a call from Penny Costa, 47 - Neven's second wife, and a woman she never knew existed - saying she and Neven hadn't been divorced until March 21, nearly two weeks after Lea's wedding day.

``People think he's the best thing since sliced bread, and he's not. He's such a phony,'' said Lea, whose marriage to Neven was annulled on June 21 on grounds it was a bigamous union.

The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office is expected to decide this week whether to charge Neven, a nationally recognized leader in the home-school movement, with misdemeanor counts, including bigamy and burglary.

Neven maintains his innocence, and his attorney said he believes no charges will be filed.

``All these allegations are false,'' said Neven, 49, who declined to discuss the bigamy accusation. ``I do have a problem: I'm a nurturer, and I like to help people, people (with whom) I have a romantic relationship, and it backfires.''

Neven belonged to Sunland Neighborhood Church until April, when the elders wrote a letter asking him to find another parish, ``where you can begin anew by admitting to your past failings and then seek help in overcoming them.''

Members of the now-defunct San Fernando Foursquare Church also say Neven was asked to resign as their pastor 10 years ago because of domestic strife.

Others defend Neven.

Sally Angel, owner of Alternative Schools of California in Burbank and a 10-year associate of Neven's, believes he is above reproach.

``I've had a lot of business dealings with Terry, and I've not seen anything but totally ethical, moral and caring behavior. He cares about the human race, and the human condition, and all children.''

Officials with Sunland Christian School, an umbrella group for 1,500 home-schooled children, declined to comment about their principal.

Lea and her family, however, depict a different side of Neven.

After divorcing his first wife, with whom he had six children, in 1995, Neven married Costa in 1996. By Sept. 18, 2002, Neven had filed for divorce - the same day relatives say Neven moved in with Lea after meeting her at a Bible study class conducted at his house.

The topic, relatives said, was ``family values of love, trust, kindness, happiness and fidelity.''

Lea said she showered Neven with gifts, including $1,000 in clothes and a $500 pair of eyeglasses. It wasn't long, she said, before Neven demanded Lea's youngest daughter move out of the house.

``When he moved in, I challenged him,'' said Lea's daughter, Karen Carlson, 19, of Sunland. ``I said, you're supposed to be a pastor. ... Why are you sleeping with my mother?

``That night, he convinced my mother to kick me out of the house, saying it was God's will, that I was too much for my mother to handle.''

After learning of Neven's marriage to Costa, Lea said she threw her husband out of their home and got their marriage annulled.

Lea subsequently won a temporary restraining order after filing harassment complaints and alleging that Neven broke into her home and stole her personal computer, checks and identification.

Neven denies those allegations.

``I had a key to the house; we hadn't even broken up,'' he contends. ``It's kind of hard to make annoying phone calls when you don't have their house number or cell number.

``It's pretty much over and resolved, and I've gone on with my life.''

Dana Bartholomew, (818) 713-3730

dana.bartholomew(at)dailynews.com

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scsandche
Francis Dominic (Member): Terry Neven 10/6/2009 3:34 PM
This article was written with falacious information given by a bi-polar woman.

The City Attorney determined there was no substance to the story, the San Fernando Foursquare Church is not defunct, the leaders of the church never asked Neven to resign, rather they wanted him to stay.

And the list goes on..

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 8, 2003
Words:656
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