Wednesday, December 26, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Pastor accused of hitting on minor child... again

JACKSONVILLE, FL -- It's a sensitive situation over at Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church. Some members are standing by their pastor regardless of the allegations brought forth. Others want to know the facts and say they want all the answers before making a decision.

Broadcast live on television and the internet, Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church Pastor Darrell Gilyard has a large following. After recent allegations of sexual assault against a minor, church members want light shed on whatever the truth may be.

"I was shocked. I was shocked because he is someone that I really respect," says a church member.

This member did not want their identity shown but says the news is startling.

"He is this person people really respect in the church and we just really want to know what's going on, the truth. Everybody is really supporting him," says the church member.

Allegations surfaced in a police report after the mother of a minor came forward saying her daughter received explicit text messages that were sexual in nature from Gilyard.

Gilyard's attorney released a statement Monday afternoon.

"The issues and situation that have been presented to us are ones that we take very seriously and as such we are conducting a thorough and complete review of the facts. Once those are known we will proceed accordingly," says Brian Coughlin, legal counsel for Gilyard.

The church says Gilyard has decided to take an indefinite paid administrative leave of absence. As the investigation moves forward, members wait to see what will be revealed.

"They just want to know the real story and he pretty much has our full support," says the church member.

Police are still in the process of investigating this case and the congregation is waiting for answers.

Pastor Darrell Gilyard has not been officially charged with any crime regarding this case.

Fred Franklin, an attorney for Shiloh, also sent us their statement:

"The leaders of Shiloh Baptist Church take these matters seriously and are committed to a full and through review of all pertinent facts. Pastor Gilyard has decided and proposed that he voluntarily take an indefinite, paid, administration leave of absence pending such review. The church has agreed to his proposal. Once a review of all the facts is completed, the church will proceed accordingly."

Gilyard has dealt with charges of sexual misconduct in the past.

Dallas news media reported in 1991 Gilyard resigned from his church there after allegations of sexual misconduct.

He started as pastor at Shiloh two years later.

Gilyard had also just been appointed to Mayor Peyton's new anti-crime task force.

But Sunday he told the mayor's office he was resigning.

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