Judge passes on motion to set bond for man facing sexual battery charge in church investigation

Attorneys for John Teschendorf, one of three men facing capital sexual battery charges in what the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said was an investigation into “long-term sexual and physical abuse of minors” in a church, have asked a judge to set a bond for their client.

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Attorneys for John Teschendorf, one of three men facing capital sexual battery charges in what the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said was an investigation into “long-term sexual and physical abuse of minors” in a church, have asked a judge to set a bond for their client.

Cythina Crawford is an attorney who represents survivors in the case.

“He stole over 40 years from these children. He destroyed them. They still carry it today. He can sit in jail,” Crawford said.

Teschendorf’s family members were sworn in and told the court they didn’t know about any sexual abuse and would be willing to help him make bond.

The state built their case around an affidavit that states Teschendorf admitted to sexually abusing a victim referred to as LT, who was 5 years old at the time. The defense says there is no DNA evidence or anything physical linking him to the case.

Mary Hickson, Teschendorf’s attorney, said her client didn’t admit to anything that took place before the child was 12 years old, and never admitted to the sexual acts.

“There is no confession by my client to any of the charges,” Hickson said. “The only thing that’s been presented by the court is what the victim alleges.”

PREVIOUS STORY: Arrest warrant details horrific sexual abuse endured by survivor linked to North Jacksonville church

Crawford said the judge has what she needs in front of her to deny Teschendorf bond.

“At the end of the day, above the age of 12, below the age of 12 — that’s illegal to the definitive line,” Crawford said. “It’s still despicable and heinous and he doesn’t belong in the community.”

Ultimately, the judge passed on the motion and another court hearing is scheduled for September.

Sitting in the courtroom was Jennifer Belanger, who said she’s a survivor of abuse from the church, the Jacksonville Assembly of the Body of Christ.

“It’s just a matter of when I see him, and I see where he’s at and where he deserves to be. It’s actually overwhelming and in a positive way,” Belanger said.

Paul Dyal was a pastor of the church on Old Kings Road North. He was arrested on a charge of capital sexual battery during a coordinated raid on the church in March.

While investigators were making the arrest, additional warrants were being served in Oklahoma. The Sheriff’s Office said Teschendorf, who was arrested in Newalla, Oklahoma, and Vernon Williamson, who was arrested in Ardmore, Oklahoma, were also arrested and charged with capital sexual battery.

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.


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