JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Correction: An earlier version of this story said JSO SWAT conducted the raid. The raid was conducted by a team of JSO detectives and officers.
Worship services were interrupted by a police raid Wednesday night at the Jacksonville Assembly of the Body of Christ on Old Kings Road.
The raid was the result of a long-term investigation that started with a tip regarding possible sexual abuse in 2020. The investigation uncovered sexual and physical abuse of minors in the church that spanned over a period of over thirty years, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
Pastor Paul Dyal was jailed on charges of capital sexual battery on a child under 12.
Two other men associated with the church, Vernon Williamson and Jerome Teschendorf, were arrested in Oklahoma, both on charges of capital sexual battery.
Court records show Teschendorf was previously arrested in 1985 Jacksonville for “Sexual Battery – victim mentally defective” but the records do not show how the case was resolved.
Dyal made his first court appearance on Thursday afternoon.
Sources tell First Coast News that there are multiple alleged victims who say they were abused by one or all three of the men as children in incidents dating back to the 1980s.
One woman, who is 50 now, claims she was abused from the ages of five to 14. Another woman alleges she was seven when she was sexually battered.
JSO officials spoke with numerous victims and witnesses over the course of the investigation. Because of these interviews, investigators have reason to believe there are additional people involved in the physical and sexual abuse.
Police also believe there might be additional victims and witnesses and are actively seeking to speak with them.
A Jacksonville resident whose family members belong to the church spoke anonymously to First Coast News following the raid.
“After the abuse that has been happening at this ‘church’ for years, it is time the victims are able to get the justice they deserve,” she said.
The church’s website has been disabled but, according to information gleaned from the Wayback Machine at https://archive.org/web, this is the pastor’s bio:
“Paul B. Dyal resides in Jacksonville, Florida with his wife of fifty years, Catherine. He is the founder and Sr. pastor of The Jacksonville Assembly of The Body of Christ church. Pastor Dyal and his wife are the parents of two sons, three grandsons, and one granddaughter. He has traveled and spoken as a minister and bible teacher in forty eight of the United States as well as twenty other countries. He writes a blog, (paulbdyal.blogspot.com) where he has shared his beliefs in over eleven hundred postings. He still travels extensively teaching and preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
If you have any additional information about these incidents, please call JSO at 904-630-0500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS to remain anonymous.