|Judge Dismisses Sexual Abuse Case against Former Youth Pastor
By Cheryl Caswell
October 22, 2008
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A circuit judge has dismissed the criminal case against a former Chesapeake youth pastor accused of sexually abusing a 16-year-old girl, but her mother is hopeful he can still be brought to trial.
Assistant Prosecutor Michelle Drummond said the state would present charges again to a grand jury to get a superceding indictment against Timothy C. Edmonds, 37, a former pastor at Chesapeake Apostolic Church.
Edmonds was scheduled to go on trial Monday. Police arrested him in May 2006 after the girl's family provided a letter she wrote detailing the abuse and they conducted an investigation. He was indicted in July of this year and pleaded not guilty.
The family of the alleged victim settled their civil case "for a large sum of money" in June, according to defense attorney John Sullivan. The parents also filed a lawsuit against the Kanawha County Board of Education recently, saying their daughter was raped in a bathroom at Riverside High School.
The girl associated with both lawsuits and the criminal case is described as "functionally disabled."
Judge Irene Berger agreed with Sullivan that the state had taken too long to bring an indictment against Edmonds and said she was dismissing the case.
The girl's mother, Debra Green, said the family planned to attend the trial next week.
"It's very frustrating, but I'm not giving up," she said. "We have DNA and witnesses.
"We're not dropping the charges," she said. "He is guilty as sin."
Edmonds was not present at the hearing.
"There's no reason we should be here," Berger said. "The state should have had its act together and had an indictment that agreed with the facts. There's no doubt errors occurred."
Sullivan said, "The state has taken over two years since he was initially charged. This man has fathered another child with his wife, that's how long this has gone on. He is trying to get on with his life."
Green said the civil and criminal cases have taken a toll on her family, but they intend to continue.
She said of her daughter, "She has been used and taken advantage of. She's had two years of counseling and is doing very well, but she doesn't really understand how wrong it was what was done to her."
The girl is now a senior at Fairhaven Christian School.
In 2006, she told police she was sexually abused at a house being remodeled by Edmonds and in his car on multiple occasions. Edmonds, a preacher at Chesapeake Apostolic Church who also taught at the church school, denied he was ever alone with the girl.
The Greens sued Edmonds, the church and its pastor, P.D. Priddy, saying they "knew Edmonds had engaged in sexually deviant behavior in a previous congregation."
In their case against the county school board, the Greens said their daughter was coerced into a bathroom by another special education student and assaulted. Administrators and teachers should have been watching both of them at the time, they said.
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