Woman told pastor, JSO about alleged sexual abuse by church member more than 10 years ago: warrant

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Vernon Williamson, 85 (Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A woman who said she was sexually abused by a member of the Jacksonville Assembly of the Body of Christ Church told the pastor of the church and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office about the alleged abuse more than a decade ago, an arrest warrant obtained by News4JAX shows.

Vernon Williamson, 85, is one of three men facing charges of capital sexual battery following allegations of abuse made by women who attended the Jacksonville Assembly of the Body of Christ Church.

The warrant describes in detail the sexual abuse of a young girl that reportedly occurred from 1996 to 2001. It states that the victim reported the abuse to pastor Paul Dyal in 2004 and to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in 2008. Dyal, 78, was also arrested earlier this month and faces capital sexual battery charges.

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According to the warrant, the woman said her mother — who died before she reported the abuse — left her in the care of Williamson, who lived on the church property.

Notably, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office interviewed Dyal in 2008. He told police he didn’t believe the allegations but admitted that he should have reported them.

JSO then interviewed Williamson. He denied the allegations and the investigation was suspended.

According to the warrant, the woman was re-interviewed last month and told police what started as lewd molestation eventually turned into “actual rape.” She told investigators, the warrant states, that Williamson took pictures of her dressed only in a diaper and said he would use the photos against her if she told anyone about the abuse.

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When she began having health issues, the warrant states, a woman — who appeared to have worked at the church — took note of the issues and told Dyal’s wife. It resulted in the victim’s brothers being separated and sent to live with other families in the church, but Williamson was permitted to stay at the church. According to the warrant, it wasn’t until another woman reported an incident involving Williamson that Dyal sent him away.

Williamson was arrested in Ardmore, Oklahoma, and Jerome Teschendorf, was arrested in Newalla, Oklahoma.