Convicted Sex Offender Pastor Allowed to Preach to Kids

by Adam Horowitz

gilyardfdle-resized-600Darrell Gilyard is a registered sex offender in the State of Florida. Darrell Gilyard is also the Pastor at Christ Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, where he is free to preach to kids. These two sentences should never go together, yet somehow this is being allowed by church leadership with little outcry from the Baptist religious community. While we certainly hope that Darrel Gilyard does not use his authority to harm anyone, we have to wonder about the wisdom of placing Pastor Gilyard in this position of authority given his history of sexual misconduct. Is Gilyard such a talented Pastor that it is worth risking the safety of children? Is there not a safer choice for Pastor than a registered sex offender?

In 2007, Gilyard, was arrested on charges of lewd and lascivious conduct with two girls under the age of 16 whom he met through his duties as Pastor at Jacksonville’s Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church. In 2009, Darrell Gilyard plead guilty to two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation; he was sentenced and the state designated him a sex offender. Gilyard resigned after nearly fifteen years as pastor of Jacksonville’s Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church, a 7,000-member predominantly African-American congregation. According to published reports, this marked the fifth pastorate Gilyard lost due to allegations of sexual misconduct.

After a three year stint in prison which ended in December 2011, Gilyard was called to the mininstry at Christ Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church where he was appointed Pastor.  Most recently, a Duval County, Florida judge modified the terms of Gilyard’s probation by removing the prior restriction on his ability to minister to chldren. This is a troubling development and we certainly hope that simply because the legal restriction is eliminated does not mean that the Church will actually allow Gilyard to do so.

Our attorneys are experienced in representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in civil lawsuits throughout the country. If you or someone you know is a survivor of child sexual abuse by a clergyman, please contact our law firm at (954) 524-2820 or send an email to sexual abuse attorney Adam Horowitz at [email protected].