Florida Church Bans Children to “Protect” Pastor Registered as Child Sex Offender

According to First Coast News, a Jacksonville, Florida church has separated children out from their congregation so a pastor who confessed to sexual crimes against two young girls can continue preaching.

Former Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church pastor Darrell Gilyard was just released from prison in December.  He’s now delivering sermons at Christ Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church on North Davis Street.

Gilyard is now a registered sex offender and is on sex offender probation until December of 2014 according to the Department of Corrections.

While serving as pastor of Shiloh in 2008, he surrendered to police in 2008 and admitted to committing sex crimes against two girls under the age of 16.

According to Britni Danielle of Clutch, Gilyard pleaded guilty in 2009 “to lewd conduct and lewd molestation of two underage girls.”

While he was the pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church Gilyard molested a 15-year-old girl and sent a lewd text message to another. Under the conditions of his plea agreement, Gilyard cannot have “unsupervised contact with children under 18 years old,” and in separating children from the congregation, “his new church has taken extraordinary steps to help Gilyard stick to the terms of his deal.”

“All these people over here are trying to do is worship, which is what you all ought to be doing,” said one church member when asked his opinion by First Coast News.

“He’s preaching the Lord’s word and he can be wherever he wants to,” said Lindy Brown.

Another parishoner said “it’s proof of how passionate the congregation is about Gilyard returning to leadership.”

“I’m passionate about doing the right thing and the right thing is giving another person another chance,” said Smith.

This chance also helps Christ Tabernacle out financially.  Attendance was down, but with Gilyard it has increased.

Church members say it was the best decision, based on their beliefs.

“That’s what God would have us do.  He would have us to appreciate everybody for who they are because none of us are without sin,” said one parishoner.

According to parishoners, Gilyard is not on the payroll at the church, so he’s not being paid for his services, but “will most likely get donations for his services.”  Gilyard did not give any comments to First Coast News for this story.

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  • veggietart

    So who’s going to protect the children from predatory clergymen?  The defense of a man who preyed on teenagers sickens me.   I can only be glad they didn’t suggest the girls were “asking for it”.   Yeah, when he’s not trolling for teens to assault, he’s preaching “the Lord’s word”.  And people wonder why I hate organized religion.

    As for doing the right thing, maybe “doing the right thing” is making sure a convicted sex offender is not in a position to ever have access to kids again, and that doesn’t mean kicking kids who’ve done nothing wrong out of your congregation but kicking out a pastor who has.

  • enonomi

    First of all the children wern’t banned – “Because of his legal requirements, children are sent to a separate building and service.” Second, and I know this is an unpopular point of view – someone who has done their time – and is going to counseling – needs to be given a second chance. Because of the horrifying nature of the crime we, as a society, have made punishment of sex offenders a life-sentence – even though their jail sentence isn’t. Either we have to accept that someone who has done their time, and is in counseling, is capable of rehabilitation or we say this is a crime so horrible that only a death sentence will satify our need for vengence.” I’m an athiest, but in this instance I’m going to have to side with the church people – if we believe redemption or rehabilitaiton is possible – we have to provide the framework for it. I applaud this congregation for doing so.

  • julie-watkins

    This church appeared to do it the right way: he’s publically confessed & people are warned. I think the “life sentence” is because of science, not unfairness. If the psychological science findings that, on average, the chance for child abuse recidivism is high then it’s not inappropiate to have life-long restrictions. Same as a blind person shouldn’t have a driver’s liscense.


    One of the reasons why the Catholic pedophile priest problem got so bad is an ideology of “true repentance” vs. science. There’s bad ideology that god’s grace can “cure” bad behavior — iow, certain mental illnesses aren’t acknowledged. That’s dangerous. Another reason is there’s such a shortage of priests. Another reason is their entitlement behavior that their “brotherhood” is most important, so favored collegues are given more “benefit of doubt” than accusers who are strangers. Then their arrogance and keeping secrets increase the damage.


    Then there’s the problem of an overly-broad definition of “sex offender” that can put a lifetime burden on poor people for public urination (a homeless person who has no where to “go”, & tried to hide it but got caught), for consential sex, for youth who traded sex for shelter or food. That kind of criminalization of the poor and vulnerable isn’t fair.


    The dangerous trade-off here is a powerful person can be given too much “benefit of doubt”. I hope truely repentant people have the attitude that “I don’t want to take any chances. Help me stay clean.”

  • colleen


    Parole/Probation and post incarceration restrictions aren’t about vengence or punishment, they are about protecting children from men who are inclined to sexually abuse them. I mention this because your analysis fails to  mention  that consideration.

    Your notion that such men should be allowed access to children because they are in “counseling” fails to protect children as does the absurd notion that it’s a “life sentence”.  Most adults (and particularly those of us who care that 1 out of 4 girls and 1 out of 6 boys are sexually abused) place a higher priority on protecting children from such abuse than fulfilling the spiritual and social needs of child rapists.