LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - A former pastor of Dunn’s Chapel Church in South Congaree is charged with 12 counts of criminal sexual conduct with a child, after two victims came forward last week.
William Oswald, 56, was denied bond on Wednesday morning and remains jailed at the Lexington County Detention Center ahead of his next court appearance in May.
According to investigators, two victims allege the sexual abuse took place between 1996 and 2001 at Dunn’s Chapel Church, where Oswald was a pastor. According to the incident report, the victims described in graphic detail the alleged sexual assaults, each stating they were assaulted more than a one hundred times during the time period. The victims said the alleged abuse began when they were around the age of eight and continued until their early teens.
“Moving forward, we’ll go to the solicitor’s office and the victims will have to relive this over and over again,” South Congaree Police Chief Josh Shumpert said. “They’ll have to continue to cooperate with the solicitors office and ultimately go to trial.”
The two victims were inside the courtroom Wednesday morning during Oswald’s bond hearing. One said she feels empowered by stepping forward and reporting the alleged abuse.
“I just finally feel safe because he’s not going to be able to touch me again or get out,” she said. “Over the years he just always manipulates the situation so no matter how many boundaries you try to put up he ends up getting back in and he can’t do that anymore, I hope.”
The victim said she knows of other victims that have yet to come forward. South Congaree Police said there are likely other victims in different jurisdictions.
“I know of several already, some that are still too afraid to speak,” she said.
She said she wanted to speak in hopes of encouraging other victims to step forward.
“There’s hope and it’s okay to speak and even if it takes you a while and years to feel safe and be separated enough it’s okay to speak, you can feel safe again,” she said.
Oswald’s attorney told the judge overseeing the bond hearing that he should be granted bond because he is not considered a flight risk and does not have a criminal history.
If you can put if there’s information that would help with this investigation please contact Chief Shumpert South Congaree police department at (803)-755-2760.