Registered sex offender looking to open rehab center faces pushback from Walterboro community

Around 50 criminals, which could include 10 sex offenders, could be coming to a community in Walterboro.
Published: Dec. 28, 2022 at 11:00 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 29, 2022 at 4:33 AM EST
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WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCSC) - Around 50 criminals, which could include 10 sex offenders, could be coming to a community in Walterboro.

SHIELD Ministries is the organization looking to bring a rehabilitation center of prior offenders to Barracada Road. This program would give them the skills they need to survive after incarceration. Some of them might be sex offenders.

The executive director of this program, David Truluck, is a registered sex offender himself.

“I unfortunately know these people personally,” Meagan Bishop, against SHIELD ministries new center, said. “Melodie Truluck is my mother and Rev. David Truluck is my abuser.”

Bishop is a victim of sexual abuse and the alleged offender, her stepfather, is David Truluck.

Truluck wants to move one of his centers into a building formerly owned by Faith Church in Summerville.

Nikki Nettles, a concerned community member, says this can’t happen.

“This SHIELD Ministries claims that they’re going to be under strict supervision, but they’re being led by a registered sex offender. So, how can that really be a valid point?”

When Truluck was asked about these concerns, he gave this statement:

I am a convicted sex offender who accepts full responsibility and the consequences of my actions. I do not make excuses for what I have done in my past and know that my actions caused many people who cared about me emotional hurt. There is nothing I can do to undo what I have done to hurt others. I have been through court ordered counseling and with the assistance of Dr. William Burke, others, and experiencing the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ, my wife, and Christian brothers I have walked down a road of restoration, healing, self-recognition, and redemption. The experiences I have had in my life give me the knowledge, understanding, skills, and abilities to help the men SHIELD Ministries work with to travel this same road, thus decreasing the likelihood of recidivism. Just as I was held and continue to be held to a high standard, we at SHIELD hold these men to a high standard and know the standard we set will increase the ability for these men to be successful both while they are at SHIELD and when they leave.

Truluck says this center will teach them life skills, cognitive behavioral learning and workforce development. He says 7-10 staff members are looking after around 50 men. He says hired staff is based off prior experience, but none of them are current law enforcement.

Kevin Lyles, who also lives near this community, says this is not enough.

“If somebody breaks in your house and steals your TV, you go to Walmart and buy another one,” Lyles said. “If somebody violates your child, there’s no coming back from that... and you can rehabilitate, but it’s hard when you got a pedophile leading a group of pedophiles.”

Other information the community shared in Wednesday’s meeting was SHIELD Ministries 2021 annual report of their program of 60 offenders. The data shows 0% of graduates reoffended out of the 7 people who completed the program.

Nettles says it’s too close for comfort.

“I don’t really have an idea of where I think they should be, I just don’t want them on Barracada Road,” Nettles said.

Lyles says he worries about his son’s safety.

“I have to work,” Lyles said. “My child has to play in the yard. Do I keep him in the house? Do I change his life to cater to these people? I just don’t think that’s right.”

Bishop says her final words on the matter.

“David does not really care about reforming these men and SHIELD Ministries does not care about the community or its children,” Bishop said. “They claim that they are nonprofit but have literally turned pedophilia into a business.”

Barracada Road is under Colleton County jurisdiction, and when asked if SHIELD Ministries has submitted any paperwork for approval of this center, Joshua Rowland, the director of planning and development for Colleton County, provided this statement:

At this time the Colleton County Planning and Development department has not received any plans, submittals or permit applications for the aforementioned property located on Barracada Road. Additionally, our Department has not granted any forms of approval for the referenced facility. Until a project and necessary applications are submitted to our department for review, we are unable to comment on this matter.

The community members say they are going to try to work with the county to make sure this center does not come to their neighborhood.

You can find the full press release from SHIELD Ministries below: