RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) - The Richland County Sheriff's Department has announced the arrest of a former Columbia pastor charged with sexual assault from the late 1980s.
Sheriff Leon Lott says Richard Taylor has been charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct and common law assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.
During a bond hearing on Wednesday, a judge awarded Taylor with a $25,000 surety bond.
According to the department's investigation, between 1989 and 1991, Taylor sexually assaulted a 17-year-old male victim on several incidents while serving as a youth pastor at Dutch Fork Baptist Church located at 3517 Dreher Shoals Road.
RCSD investigators were able to obtain arrest warrants for Taylor who turned himself into investigators on Tuesday, Jan. 23.
We spoke with the alleged victim in this case who told us he came from a very safe home, but he often didn't feel like he was getting much love or attention.
He says this made it easy for the former youth pastor to quickly gain his trust by showing him a lot of affection and buying him gifts -- those gifts came at a much higher price.
"Meeting my emotional and psychological needs that I wasn't getting at home or through my social group of friends and he provided love, support, attention, gifts – that eventually came at the cost of fondling, mutual sexual acts and then rape," the victim said.
Pastor Dr. Chuck McAlister with Dutch Fort Baptist Church says that Taylor has not been a part of their church for more than 20 years and they have not had any contact with him.
"Given the nature and direction our society is going, it's sad these things happen," McAlister said. "Our hearts go out to the victims. Our message is of redemption and anyone can find healing in whatever they have experienced through Jesus Christ. Our church stands ready to offer to heal to anyone in need."
Sheriff Lott states that investigators are looking into the possibility of more victims and additional charges may be forthcoming. The fear of additional victims also fills the alleged victim with anxiety.
"The greatest struggle that I've had the past couple years has been that my silence may have given an opportunity for him to continue to victimize others," he said.