This is totally unbelievable. I can't believe this is happening in our city of Jacksonville, Florida.
As Jeff Brumley reported this afternoon, the church that hired Darrell Gilyard, the man convicted of sex crimes against young girls, is seeking to have our court system allow minors in the church sanctuary when Gilyard preaches.
Thank God the judge has denied the request for now - but his final decision is based on a psychological evaluation that he has not yet received. So it is possible that Gilyard will once again get access to the minds and hearts of potential victims within the walls of the church just like he did over and over again at multiple churches in Florida and Texas.
Does the court realize how these sexual predator/preachers gain the trust of their victims and their parents? Gilyard's victims over the years were women and girls that he spiritually abused FIRST through his church contact with them from the pulpit, using his pastoral authority to ultimately abuse them sexually.
Spiritual abusers take the authority given to them as gospel ministers that is to be used to help people grow closer to God, and they pervert that authority into power used to lord over people, to coerce, manipulate, and swindle them in order to punish, or to convince them to do what the spiritual abuser wants them to do under the auspices of it being "God's will".
This is how sexual deviants like Gilyard operate in churches. Gilyard needs access to the hearts and minds of young women, wives, and little girls to gain their trust and establish his "spiritual authority" over them as the "man of God". Then, it is only a matter of time until Gilyard will misuse this authority, gain the trust of the most gullible, and then ultimately use his power to get women to do the sexual favors that he desires.
We see the same pattern all over modern Christianity. We see it in the Roman Catholic Church. We saw it over at Trinity Baptist Church where Bob Gray gained the trust of parents and little boys and girls so he could do his deeds.
The problem we usually have to deal with is finding the predators, and then getting the predators' church authority to take action. At Trinity, it was covered up and the abuse went on and on.
But in this case we KNOW Gilyard is a predator. We KNOW of his repeated sexual misconduct here in Jax and in Texas and Oklahoma.
And now Gilyard and his church wants the court to sanction a new beginning of abuse of boys and girls and women in our city.
Shame on Christ Tabernacle Baptist Church and Darrell Gilyard.
Judge Kevin Blazs, please do the right thing and refuse their motion to grant Gilyard access to the hearts and minds of minors. And judge, please don't just rely on the testimony of a psychological evaluation - rely on Gilyard's track record of decades of spiritual and sexual abuse in churches to guide you in your decision.
And thank you, Jeff Brumley and the Times Union, for staying on top of this story.