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Church Members Outraged as Registered Sex Offender Returns to Preach



blurred photo of a church | Church Members Outraged as Registered Sex Offender Returns to Preach | Featured

Rev. Darrell Gilyard, a registered sex offender in the Sunshine State, is once again preaching in the pulpit. This upsets members who point to his three-year prison sentence in 2009 for sexually molesting two girls. Local news reported that Gilyard just became the new pastor of Mount Ararat Baptist Church in Jacksonville.

“Our phones were ringing off the hook,” Lynn Jones, an editor for the Jacksonville Free Press, said about members from the church upset about Gilyard’s past. “Members of Mount Ararat — they were totally upset, and a lot of them are our subscribers.”

First Coast News reported that for 14 years, Darrell Gilyard was the pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church – “it was here he fell from grace.” “In 2007 he was arrested on charges of lewd and lascivious conduct. In 2009 he plead guilty to two counts; he was sentenced and the state designated him a sex offender,” the report said.

“God doesn’t need predators in the pulpit, no matter how great a speaker or the truth of God’s word being spoken,” Tiffany Thigpen Kilgannon, who said she was a victim, wrote on the church's Facebook page. “Please keep your young girls and ladies safe. It is a painful thing to recover from, give them the gift of safety,” she added.

Despite Gilyard’s history of repeated allegations, some members support him. “I was certainly disappointed, but I prayed about it like I try to do about everything, and I forgave him,” James Andrews said.

Fox News reported that before his arrest, “Gilyard was forced to resign from a Dallas-area church after he confessed to some allegations in 1991, and Gilyard defended himself against multiple civil suits, including one that he eventually settled – a grieving widow who accused him of raping and impregnating her during counseling sessions, according to Florida and federal court records.”

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