William Richardson, 47, was charged with capital sexual battery after the girl, now 11, told a staff member at her school that the church volunteer had molested her over a three-year period at the First Baptist Church of Mango.
Investigators said they discovered Richardson had molested the girl several times, including at least once in the past year, during Sunday school services at the Seffner, Florida, church.
The youth ministries director said church officials had no idea the abuse had taken place until Richardson was charged and tearfully apologized.
“I’m so sorry that this happened,” said youth ministries director Nita Allred. “You trusted the children with me, and I’m so sorry. That’s all I can say.”
Police said they’re investigating whether there may be additional victims, but they have not yet found evidence of other abuse at the church.
If convicted, Richardson could face life in prison.
Raw Story is a progressive news site that focuses on stories often ignored in the mainstream media. While giving coverage to the big stories of the day, we also bring our readers' attention to policy, politics, legal and human rights stories that get ignored in an infotainment culture driven solely by pageviews.
Founded in 2004, Raw Story reaches 9 million unique readers per month and serves more than 30 million pageviews.