JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Jacksonville pastor and 2 other men were arrested in connection with a sexual and physical abuse investigation at a church in the Biltmore area.
“The investigation revealed both long-term sexual and physical abuse of minors in the church spanning a period of over thirty years,” the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said in a news release about the Jacksonville Assembly of the Body of Christ Church.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said the following men have been arrested:
- Paul Dyal, Pastor, 78 years old; Arrested by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and Charged with Capital Sexual Battery (victim 11 years of age or younger). Dyal appeared in court in Jacksonville on Thursday. He was not granted bond and his next court hearing is set for March 31.
- Jerome Teschendorf, 68 years old; Arrested in Newalla, Oklahoma and Charged with Capital Sexual Battery
- Vernon Williamson, 85 years old; Arrested in Ardmore, Oklahoma and Charged with Capital Sexual Battery
In addition to the arrest warrants served for Dyal, Teschendorf and Williamson, a search warrant was served at the church, JSO said.
JSO said it has identified and spoken with numerous victims and witnesses and said it believes there are additional suspects, victims and witnesses.
Cynthia Crawford, who is representing some of the victims in this case, told Action News Jax’s Robert Grant that Williamson and Teschendorf used to be in Jacksonville and were working at a sister church in Oklahoma.
Crawford also said the investigation spans more states than just Florida and Oklahoma.
She said “they intend to prove that this has been happening for over 40 years in our own backyard.”
The U.S. Marshals, the State Attorney’s Office and the Florida Department of Children and Families also assisted JSO in the investigation.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact JSO at 904-630-0500 or to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.
If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or visit the website: https://rainn.org/about-national-sexual-assault-online-hotline.
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