Man who hired pastor accused of sexual abuse was investigated for video voyeurism
State attorney found evidence of crime after statute of limitations expired
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The man who hired a pastor who was facing charges of sexual abuse of a teenage student at a Baltimore-area church school in 2007 was under investigation himself for clandestinely videotaping women undressing in his office, the I-TEAM has learned.
Investigators told News4Jax that video released by the Clay County Sheriff's Office in 2011 shows Greg Neal, a pastor at Berean Baptist Church, handling the camera used to record the women. According to an arrest report, Neal was accused of hiding the camcorder in his office in Fleming Island in the spring of 2011 and videotaping while two women changed clothes.
An investigation into the allegations found a crime occurred, but Neal, who was uncooperative, was never prosecuted.
"The evidence of his crimes of voyeurism in 2001 is overwhelming," an assistant state attorney said in 2011. "Unfortunately, the statute of limitations has expired.”
Neal is now working at Immanuel Baptist on Jacksonville's Westside, where he hired Cameron Giovanelli (pictured, right), who was under investigation by Baltimore police at the time for allegations he sexually abused a 17-year-old member of a Baltimore church where he worked in 2007.
The senior pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Baltimore said he warned Neal not to hire Giovanelli.
“What bothers me is the pastor down there in Jacksonville at the Immanuel Baptist Church," Calvary Pastor Stacey Shiflett said. "I called Greg Neal and told him before Cameron got there that he was under investigation and what happened here and what I had discovered, and I told him that, 'You cannot let him come to your church and put him on staff.' I said, 'He could be arrested one day and go to jail and you’re going to have a lot of egg on your face. You’re going to lose a lot of credibility with your people and anyone that knows you.' I said, 'You cannot let this happen' and we talked for nearly an hour and he disregarded my advice."
In a letter detailing her abuse titled "Dear Cameron," Giovanelli’s accuser wrote, “I trusted that it was normal for me to have to lie every time someone would talk about their 'first kiss' and Id have to make up a story about who mine was with because I, obviously, couldn’t say 'my pastor.'"
News4Jax went to Neal’s home and his church Friday but didn’t get to speak with him.
We also went to Giovanelli’s Orange Park home after learning he was let out of jail on his own recognizance, but there was no answer at the door.
Copyright 2019 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.