Bond denied for Jacksonville church pastor charged with sexual battery

Paul Dyal accused of abusing children for decades

A judge on Wednesday denied a request for bond for a Jacksonville pastor accused of abusing children for decades.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A judge on Wednesday denied a request for bond for a Jacksonville pastor accused of abusing children for decades.

Paul Dyal, 78, pastor of the Jacksonville Assembly of the Body of Christ on Old Kings Road, is charged with two counts of capital sexual battery on a child.

The defense wanted him released on his own recognizance and called Dyal’s son to the stand on Wednesday.

He told the judge that his father would stay away from children if released from jail and asked the judge to give his father a bond because of health issues.

“He has had two heart attacks, open heart surgery. He has high blood pressure,” Dyal’s son said.

Dyal’s friend also took the stand. The state asked him if he knew about the allegations against him or any other men at the church.

Friend: “I’ve been aware of rumors about 25 years ago.”

State: “Were you aware if any of these were reported to law enforcement or DCF?”

Friend: “Yes I believe in one case there was.”

The state called a detective as its witness who said Dyal shouldn’t be released because of the years of physical and psychological abuse the survivors faced. She said the survivors were beaten with wooden paddles:

State: “Did you recover any wooden paddles during the execution of the search warrant?”

Detective: “Yes.”

State: “How many did you recover?”

Detective: “There were two.”

The judge ultimately denied the defense’s request for Dyal to have a bond.

Dyal remains in the Duval County jail. His next court date, a pretrial hearing, is set for May 18.

If convicted, according to the judge, he could face life in prison.

Dyal was arrested in March after a coordinated police raid on the North Jacksonville church. He pleaded not guilty in April.

According to police, the investigation into Dyal goes back more than 20 years and includes evidence for offenses they believe happened in the early 90s.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office got a tip about possible sexual abuse at the church in September 2020.

While investigators were making the arrest of Dyal, additional warrants were being served in Oklahoma. Jerome Teschendorf, 68, who was arrested in Newalla, Oklahoma, and Vernon Williamson, 85, who was arrested in Ardmore, Oklahoma, have both now been extradited to Jacksonville.

Teschendorf and Williamson are also affiliated with Dyal’s church and are also facing two counts each of capital sexual battery on a child.

“The investigation revealed both long-term sexual and physical abuse of minors in the church spanning a period of over thirty years,” the Sheriff’s Office said in its news release in March.

The Sheriff’s Office believes there could be more than a dozen victims.

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 to come forward by calling JSO or submitting an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers of Northeast Florida.

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.