Thursday, November 24, 2005

 

Ex-pastor arrested on third charge


Myrtle Beach, S.C. - A former Murrells Inlet minister who was indicted last year on two charges of molesting boys was arrested Tuesday on an additional charge of second-degree criminal sexual misconduct with a minor.

Troy Taylor, 36, who led Low Country Community Church in Murrells Inlet, surrendered Tuesday afternoon at the Georgetown County Sheriff's Office, said Sheriff's Office spokesman Neil Johnson.

A bond hearing will be today at the Georgetown County jail, Johnson said.

Taylor's lawyer, Scott Joye, said his client has maintained his innocence on all charges.

"I can't comment, other than to say that Troy has maintained all along that he is not guilty of these charges," Joye said. "He is going to await his day in court."

Police said the latest charge is in connection with an alleged 1999 molestation at Taylor's former residence on Gibson Avenue in Murrells Inlet.

Taylor now lives on Little Tony Avenue in Murrells Inlet.

Taylor, a father of two, at the time was 30 and the victim was 11, the report said.

Taylor was leader of the youth group at Low Country Community Church and the boy was a group member, the report said.

Taylor took the children to Huntington Beach State Park on a church field trip, police said.

Taylor then took the boy back to his home, where the molestation took place, police said.

The incident happened in late June or early July, the victim said. Police did not give additional details on the incident.

Taylor also has been accused of molesting two other boys at his home in 1991 and 1988.

One person, now 26, said he was molested in 1991, when he was 12 and Taylor was about 20.

The other, now 29, also was 12 when he was molested in 1988, police said.

Taylor was freed on $10,000 bail after his arrest in those cases.

Taylor left Low Country Community Church in August 2003.

Before then, he did missionary work in Romania and adopted an orphan from that country.

Two other Georgetown County ministers have been arrested on similar charges.

In June 2001, the Rev. Gerald J. Ryfinski, 46, of Highmarket Street in Georgetown, was charged with third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. At the time of his arrest, Ryfinski was serving as priest of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Georgetown.

Ryfinski pleaded guilty in Georgetown County Courthouse, was sentenced to probation and was required to register as a sex offender.

In August, Kenneth "Tripp" Atkinson III was charged with sexually assaulting a teenage girl three years ago while he was youth pastor at the Pawleys Island Community Church.

Atkinson, who is free on $30,000 bail, has been ordered to stay away from the girl, who is now 17. His case still has to go to trial.

Atkinson, who is on paid leave from his post as a student minister at First Baptist of Columbia, was arrested Aug. 10 after turning himself in at the Georgetown Sheriff's Office.


See also, the never-ending chronicle of church-related crime.

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