Judge agrees to new bond hearing for Jacksonville pastor charged with sexual battery

Paul Dyal accused of abusing children for decades

A Jacksonville pastor accused of abusing children for decades was back in court on Tuesday.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville pastor accused of abusing children for decades was back in court on Tuesday.

Paul Dyal’s attorney argues his client should have the chance for another bond hearing while he awaits trial.

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. He pleaded not guilty in April.

Dyal had a bond hearing that same month, and defense lawyers promised the judge that their client would appear for all hearings and stay away from children. Bond, however, was denied.

Dyal’s new defense attorney, Mitchell Stone, said previous counsel did not have all the necessary information and believes Dyal deserves another consideration for a bond.

Stone on Friday filed a new motion for bond to be set, telling the judge that Dyal’s health is at issue. The motion stated that Dyal has a history of heart trouble and has a leaking heart valve that requires surgery. According to the defense, Dyal needs prescription medicine that he’s not getting in jail, that he has been denied a wheelchair and that he has open foot sores that could get infected. Stone also mentioned at Tuesday’s hearing that his client has long COVID-19.

“He has a particular prescription for high cholesterol,” Stone said in court. “He walks with a cane, but the longer distance he has to walk, the harder things are. He has asked for a wheelchair, and that has not been honored.”

The defense stated that the sexual assault allegations were first raised in 2003, but Dyal has never changed his ID or moved away.

The motion also referenced a 2019 demand letter from a law firm seeking to settle a civil case and suggests there was a “financial motive to fabricate these accusations.”

Dyal’s lawyer said in the motion that there’s no physical evidence to support the accusations and that for his client to be held without bond violates his constitutional rights.

“The lawyer had all the information. There has been no substantial change as to his health. The fact that he had a heart attack, open heart surgery, COVID and diabetes — all of that was known at the time we had the [first bond] hearing,” Christine Newman said.

Judge Tatiana Salvador said that there would have to be new issues to consider a bond for Dyal, and she agreed to a new hearing because this was the first time that she had heard of what the defense considers negligent conditions in jail.

“We will have a hearing to reconsider pretrial release, but I’m not doing a full-blown do-over,” Salvador said.

Tuesday afternoon’s hearing was set to be a second bond hearing for Dyal, but the judge said she would set a date for the second bond hearing at the next court hearing on July 25.

An accuser was in court, but she did not wish to comment.

Outside of court, several of Dyal’s supporters were seen leaving. News4JAX asked them their thoughts on the possiblity of Dyal getting a bond, but there was no comment.

In the meantime, Dyal remains held in the Duval County jail without bond.

Pastor of church accused of abusing children for decades

Dyal was arrested in March after a coordinated raid on the North Jacksonville church where he was a pastor.

According to police, the investigation into Dyal goes back more than 20 years and includes evidence for offenses they believe happened in the early 1990s.

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

“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.

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 been extradited to Jacksonville.

Teschendorf and Williamson are also affiliated with Dyal’s church and are each facing two counts of capital sexual battery on a child. Both Teschendorf and Williamson pleaded not guilty.

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 at 904-630-0500 or submitting an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers of Northeast Florida at 1-866-845-TIPS (8477) or online.

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.


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