By Lindy Thackston
First Coast News
JACKSONVILLE, FL -- Pastor Darrell Gilyard watched his congregation at Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church grow by the thousands since he first took the pulpit in 1993.
But after one of those members accused him of sending obscene sexual texts to her teenage daughter last month, he resigned.
Pastor Gilyard was arrested Monday by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office on lewd and lascivious charges.
It isn't Gilyard's first time to meet with such accusations.
According to church leaders in Texas, Pastor Gilyard was forced to leave four churches in the eighties and nineties after women complained of sexual abuse.
Some of those women, and even some church leaders, claim Pastor Gilyard was able to move from pulpit to pulpit for decades because the claims against him were dismissed by Doctor Paige Patterson, a prominent religious leader.
"I never asked anybody to remain quiet about anything," said Dr. Patterson.
Dr. Patterson was Gilyard's mentor and president of his bible college.
He is currently president of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Now a group called SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) is asking for Dr. Patterson's suspension.
"Mr. Gilyard is very convincing and he always denied (the accusations)," Patterson said.
Dr. Patterson claims he did not turn a blind eye to abuse.
"I told Darrell at the time that he was disqualified from pastoring and should never go into pastoring again."
He says he warned Southern Baptist churches of the incidents, but Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church is not Southern Baptist.
Dr. Patterson says that didn't matter.
"The leadership of the church was fully aware of the fact that all of this had gone on," said Dr. Patterson.
Now all these years later, Pastor Gilyard is booked as a prisoner and being called a predatory preacher by Dr. Patterson and others.
Pastor Gilyard bonded out of jail for $5000 Monday night.
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First Coast News