Pastor free on bail

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An area pastor posted bail after spending hours behind bars on a sex-related charge Wednesday night.

The Rev. Jeffrey Dale Williams, 47, lead pastor at The Church of Corinth, posted $10,000 bail after he was charged with attempted sexual performance of a child, a third-degree felony.

The church issued the following statement to media outlets Thursday: “We have no knowledge of nor any reason to suspect any inappropriate behavior. We intend to and will fully investigate the allegations, and we will fully cooperate with the authorities. Our prayers go out to this family of our Church.”

David Fink, spokesman for the church, said Thursday that church leaders are taking the steps needed to determine whether Williams will continue to be their lead pastor.

“Steps are being made on what to do next,” he said.

Williams has been serving at the church since it opened in 1999.

According to the arrest affidavit, Williams is accused of spending two hours trying to persuade a girl to take off her clothes and show herself nude.

Investigators with the Corinth Police Department were contacted by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services about possible sexual abuse allegations on April 3.

Police Capt. Greg Wilkerson said Wednesday that the alleged incident took place at the victim’s home March 30 and the investigation is continuing.

Records obtained from Corinth police show that Williams allegedly locked a door and put a chair against it before asking the victim to take off her clothes. The persuasion, records show, allegedly continued for more than two hours.

During the monthlong investigation, police were able to review reports from the Department of Family and Protective Services and contact an alleged witness, according to the affidavit.

The alleged witness, police said, provided them with five audio recordings that included the voices of Williams and the girl.

The victim’s age isn’t being released, but she is younger than 18, officials said.

Calls to Williams’ attorney were not returned.

Church members are staying strong and dealing with the allegations against their pastor.

Steve Ormand said he and his family have been attending the church for about two years.

“Jeff is a great guy trying to do the right thing,” Ormand said. “The audio they say they have was merely him testing [the juvenile’s] moral compass and has been taken out of context, in my opinion.”

Third-degree felonies are punishable by two to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000, according to the Texas Penal Code.

People with more information are urged to call the Corinth Police Department at 940-498-2017.

MEGAN GRAY can be reached at and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.

 


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