Paul Dyal, a local Jacksonville pastor, was arrested on March 8, 2022, when services were harshly interrupted by a police raid at the Jacksonville Assembly of the Body of Christ where Dyal was leading. Dyal, 78, was charged with sexual battery and is concluded that Dyal committed both long-term sexual and physical abuse of minors from 1976 to 2001. Dyal’s arrest report also details physical abuse and states that the one victim had bruises all over her body from beatings. Dyal was denied bail.
According to the arrest affidavit, the investigation began in September 2020, after the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office received reports of multiple sexual battery and child abuse incidents involving victims affiliated with the Church. Several news reports revealed that multiple victims shared details of a cult-like atmosphere at the Church. During the preliminary investigation, it was discovered that on June 11, 2019, a demand letter was sent to the Church and on behalf of several victims who disclosed sexual, physical, and emotional abuse that occurred within the Church when they were minor children. Nobody from the Church responded.
According to the reports, Paul Dyal, along with two other men, Jerome Teschendorf, 68, and Vernon Williamson, 85, would abuse minors together or individually. One victim claims Dyal sexually abused her up to thirty times over the span of seven years starting in March 1979. The alleged victim stated Dyal would bathe her in his house above the Church while Dyal’s wife and two kids were in the next room. The report said the victim “stated she never felt clean after the sexual abuse.” She was “happy when new girls would come to the church because she believed she would endure less sexual abuse.” The survivor explained, “We went into the Church around age 5. I was around 7 when he first decided to do what he did. My parents were sent out of town to another church, and I got put with him and his wife at his house. The first night I stayed there, he came in the bathroom during my bath and fondled my vagina with his hands and a belt buckle.” She said Dyal would masturbate while digitally penetrating her. She claimed this went on for about six years. The survivor said she filed a report in the late 90s and another report in 2003 claiming sexual molestation against Dyal, but again, nobody responded to until now. “Living with it and just knowing that all those years nobody would listen to me and he was free, and now he’s actually in jail, it’s numb, surreal but some kind of a little bit of closure.”
Another alleged victim, now 50, stated Dyal abused her from 5 to 14 years old. Another said she was 7 when Dyal sexually battered her. Dyal is now behind bars.
Sexual abuse by a member of the clergy is a breach of trust at the highest level. Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergies in Florida. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a Catholic priest or lay employee in Florida, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in Florida now have legal options, but statutes of limitations will apply so do not delay in contacting us now. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Florida and nationwide. Contact us at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your options today.