JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Attorneys for the women accusing a Jacksonville Pastor of sexual and physical assault hope to hear from more witnesses to build a stronger case.
Paul Dyal was arrested and charged with capital sexual battery. Reports say some of the abuse happened at his church, the Jacksonville Assembly of the Body of Christ Church.
This case is known for its sexual depravity.
The way attorneys say they are moving around it is that for cases of rape and molestations for someone under 12, there is no statute of limitations.
But those who witnessed it or experienced things like that can be brought in as witnesses during a trial.
“It’s cult-ish, it’s extremely cult-ish,” said one man who reached out to News4Jax. He said he was a member of the General Assembly of Churches, and he met Paul Dyal.
When we asked him if he ever thought the men would be facing capital sexual battery charges, he said he wouldn’t put it past any of them.
“You have a lot of young girls and a lot of young guys who have been sexually abused in the worst way. And to this day, they still won’t even talk about it,” he explained.
The General Assembly churches stretch across the country.
One former member told News4Jax “innocent children and even adults still being abused and there’s nothing they can say about it. There’s so many others that share my same story but are scared to speak out.”
In the Jacksonville case, police reports of abuse date to the 70s.
Attorney John Phillips said all the pieces of this story matter, and can really help in the prosecution, so people should come forward.
“Little girl A was molested; little girl B had her thighs rubbed. Little girl A still has a case because she was under 12 and was molested, little girl B doesn’t because its lewd and lascivious behavior and that time has run but little girl B can testify in little girl A’s case,” Phillips explained.
Phillips said this is a way to help build the criminal case, and in a way ensure that this never happens to anyone else again.
He said depending age and severity of the victim there is no statute of limitations, and they can come forward at any time.
For those whose statute of limitations ran out, they can be witnesses in the trial.
There is also a law that was just passed but needs the governor’s signature that would help survivors in a case like this. Senate Bill 1244 would eliminate statutes of limitation periods of prosecutions. The goal is to give child victims more rights and chances to come forward.
John Phillips says this is how victims of sex crimes are heard and says its the only way you shut down the behavior.