Former church volunteer accused of having sexual relationship with underage boy

Rashad Williams, 34 (Copyright 2023 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A former church volunteer was arrested and charged with having sex with an underage boy in Jacksonville.

The arrest report said the victim reported meeting Rashad Williams, 34, on Grindr in February. The victim said Williams messaged him and the two agreed to have sex at Williams’ home that night. The victim said Williams picked him up and they had sexual encounters that evening and the next morning. After the third encounter, the victim said he told Williams his age, which is redacted in the police report.

The victim told police he was brought back to Williams’ home three to four times for the purpose of Bible study sessions, but no one else was in attendance. He said he’d been in a continuous “spiritual” relationship with Williams for months, according to the police report.

The victim’s parents saw texts between the two on June 10 and took the boy’s phone away. After the boy didn’t respond to further messages, Williams showed up at his house and spoke with a neighbor saying he was a youth minister and was doing a “wellness check” on the boy next door, according to the police report. Investigators said the text messages showed Williams offered to pick the boy up from school and instructed him on how to lie to his parents about his whereabouts.

Jacksonville police contacted Williams in mid-June and he agreed to be interviewed. Williams said he was working with a student through his church who was struggling with same-sex attraction and he was concerned for his well-being.

Williams told the victim’s neighbor he was a youth leader at Celebration Church. News4JAX reached out to Celebration Church and received this statement: “Mr. Williams has not been an active member or volunteer at Celebration Church since November 2021. He has never been employed by Celebration Church or licensed as a pastor.”

The church reiterated the timeline of events involving this arrest does not match the timeline of when Williams was involved with the church.

Williams remains in jail with arraignment set for July 19.