Three men, including a pastor, are accused of abusing children for decades, dating back to the 1980s. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in Florida said they executed a search warrant for the Body of Christ Church on Wednesday, as well as an arrest warrant for Pastor Paul Dyal, 78, at the location. He is charged with capital sexual battery of a victim 11 years or younger. This raid was during services, according to WTSP.
Authorities executed arrest warrants on Jerome Teschendorf, 68, in Newalla, Oklahoma, and Vernon Williamson, 85, in Ardmore, Oklahoma, the sheriff’s office said. Both are charged with capital sexual battery.
“In September 2020, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Special Assault Unit received a tip regarding possible sexual abuse occurring within the Jacksonville Assembly of the Body of Christ Church located at 6350 Old Kings Road North,” the sheriff’s office wrote.
Investigators said they uncovered that children faced sexual and physical abuse dating back more than 30 years.
Multiple alleged victims said one or all three of the men abused them as children dating back to the 1980s, according to sources cited by WTOP.
A woman, currently 50, said she was abused from ages five to 14, according to the news outlet. Another said she was seven.
“After the abuse that has been happening at this ‘church’ for years, it is time the victims are able to get the justice they deserve,” said a local woman anonymously. Her family members belong to the church.
Citing conversations with victims and witnesses, authorities suggest more suspects are involved. There could also be more victims.
From the sheriff’s office:
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office believes there is a potential for additional victims and witnesses. We are asking that anyone who feels they have information regarding these incidents to please contact the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at 904-630-0500 or [email protected]. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.
[Booking photos via Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]