JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Disclaimer: Some may find the details included in this story to be graphic in nature. Discretion is advised.
One of the survivors connected to an investigation into decades of abuse at a North Jacksonville church reported her attacker to Jacksonville Assembly of the Body of Christ pastor Paul Dyal, who threatened her with family retaliation if the attacker was sent to jail, according to an arrest report obtained by News4JAX.
Dyal, 78, Jerome Teschendorf, 68, and Vernon Williamson, 85, are each facing multiple counts of sexual battery after an almost 20-year investigation.
According to Teschendorf’s arrest report, he sexually abused the survivor who reported him to Dyal “hundreds of times over many years.” She told police Teschendorf admitted to her he knew what he was doing was wrong and would ask for her forgiveness but said he “had a sickness and could not stop.”
She said when she told Dyal about the abuse, Dyal said “her brothers and family would have no food” and her mother would be “on welfare” if Teschendorf went to jail. Due to that pressure, the survivor “told the state prosecutor she did not want anything done.”
The survivor later shared more details with police, saying that Teschendorf forced her to do his laundry and iron his clothes and if she did not do the tasks to his standards, he would punish her with sexual abuse. She also told police he threatened her with physical punishment if she would not perform sex acts.
Teschendorf’s arrest report indicates he was previously arrested in 1985 on a charge of sexual battery on a child, involving the same survivor, but the charge was quickly dropped.
Teschendorf and Williamson were both arrested in Oklahoma and extradited to Jacksonville.
News4JAX spoke with Teschendorf’s former colleague, Tina Thomas, who he worked with as a mechanic at the Tinker Air Force Base.
“I tried to avoid him as much as possible,” Thomas said. “He had a way of talking to you, that he talked down to you, like your knowledge did not matter.”
Thomas added: “Most people tried to avoid Jerome just because he was so harsh.”
Despite Teschendorf’s behavior at work, Thomas said the allegations against Teschendorf are shocking.
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A separate report from 2003 names Dyal specifically. The report details a person telling police they were molested after staying overnight at the pastor’s house.
Dyal’s house is on the property of his church, the Jacksonville Assembly of the Body of Christ.
JSO said that through the course of the investigation, the police “have identified and spoken to numerous victims and witnesses.” As a result, the Sheriff’s Office said, police believe there are additional suspects. It asked that anyone who believes they might have information to share come forward by calling JSO or submitting an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers of Northeast Florida.
The Sheriff’s Office believes there could be more than a dozen victims of abuse connected to the church.
Eight women have since shared their stories with News4JAX, saying they are survivors of mental, physical and emotional abuse from people at the Jacksonville Assembly of the Body of Christ Church.
Teschendorf is being held in the Duval County jail without bond.
News4JAX looked into Teschendorf’s history, and besides the 1985 sexual battery case that was dropped, a restraining order was filed against him in Oklahoma in 2002. but it’s unclear what the circumstances are surrounding that case.