Pastor arrested on 20-year-old sexual battery case

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The pastor of a Kansas church was arrested last week in Volusia County on a Duval County warrant charging him with a sexual battery on a child more than 20 years ago.

Michael Wayne Hill was arrested last week in Volusia County on a Duval County warrant charging him with sexual battery more than 20 years ago.

The victim, now an adult, claimed Michael Wayne Hill sexually assaulted him or her in Jacksonville decades ago. Jacksonville Sheriff's Office investigators believe there might be other victims.

Local attorney Rhonda Peoples-Waters looked through the police report obtained by News4JAX, which explained how police went after Hill last week. Even though the assault is years old, the type of crime Hill committed eliminates a statute of limitations.

"This is an alleged sexual battery, and because the victim is under the age of 12 then the prosecution can commence at any time, so there is not a statute of limitations, even though the offense happened 20 years ago," said Peoples-Waters. "That will not bar the state from being able to prosecute the alleged offense."

Hill, 52, has been pastor of the Chanute 7th Day Adventist Church, in Chanute, Kansas, since last November.

The arrest report from the Volusia County Sheriff's Office said Hill apparently contacted the victim and arranged to meet him or her in Daytona Beach on Jan. 8.

JSO and Volusia County deputies monitored the meeting at Panera Bread on International Speedway Boulevard.  When Hill showed up, with his wife-- he was unaware that authorities were there, monitoring and recording the conversation.

The wife was questioned and released. Hill was arrested shortly after.

"And that is going to be very important as to why JSO would have recorded that conversation, because it's very likely to contain a confession by the defendant," Peoples-Waters said.

Peoples-Waters adds it's uncommon to have a recorded conversation, but speculates it may have been the best way to show a court that a crime happened so long ago. She points out that finding proof from so long ago can be difficult.

"There certainly will be some challenges that maybe you would not have with a more recent case," said Peoples-Waters. "DNA, or a text, or a phone message is what you would normally have as tangible evidence, so the evidence they will very likely have to rely on at this point, is the alleged victim's testimony."

Hill is being held without bond on a charge of sexual battery of a child under 18 but over 12. His arraignment is set for Feb. 4.

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