Additional charges of sexual battery filed against man with ties to Middleburg church

Christopher Pledger (Clay County Sheriff's Office)

MIDDLEBURG, Fla. – Additional charges have been filed against Christopher Pledger, who was scheduled to go to trial in a couple of weeks. Because of that, the trial has been delayed.

Pledger had been set for trial May 7 on two counts of sexual battery of a teenage girl. Now, the state attorney’s office has filed two more counts, involving the same victim.

Pledger’s next court date is May 23. Sources have told News4JAX he has ties to Calvary Baptist Church in Middleburg, where his father and brother are both pastors.

Investigators with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office said a woman came forward in 2016, saying he began sexually assaulting her when she was 13 years old. She told deputies Pledger began forcing her to have sex with him around 15 or 16 years old. An arrest warrant shows she told investigators that the abuse continued for several years.

Several witnesses told deputies Pledger appeared to be overprotective of the teen, the warrant shows. Witnesses told deputies they asked the teen if she was being abused, but she told them no. Deputies said the teen was scared Pledger would abuse her siblings and mother if she told anyone.