Editor’s Note: In support of the sixth strategic action of Vision 2025 adopted by messengers to the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting, Baptist Press will continue to report every instance of sexual abuse related to Southern Baptist churches or leaders of which we are made aware.
TULSA, Okla. (BP) – A former Southern Baptist preacher was indicted on a number of sexual abuse charges by a federal grand jury on Nov. 17.
Roy Edward Williams, 63, was arrested on July 2 by the Mayes County Sheriff’s Office, according to police records. Court records indicate he was a former preacher in Vinita, Okla. Williams is a longtime church member who also preached at Bunker Hill Baptist Church on occasion, a Southern Baptist congregation in Vinita. The alleged abuse occurred on the grounds of the nearby Cherokee reservation, according to the FBI.
He was indicted on five counts of coercion and enticement of a minor in Indian Country, four counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a minor in Indian Country, one count of sexual contact of a minor between 12 and 16 years old in Indian Country, and one count of possession of child pornography.
The abuse is alleged to have begun as early as 2002 and continued until as late as December 2018.
Prosecutors say, “Williams allegedly paid or offered something of value to several victims immediately following the sexual abuse and threatened several victims to prevent them from telling others.”
“Oklahoma Baptists stand strongly against sexual abuse and abuse in every form, and we believe every allegation should be taken seriously and reported to proper authorities,” said Joe Ligon, senior associate executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.
The FBI, Craig County Sheriff’s Office, and the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service are investigating the case. They are asking any other potential victims to contact the FBI’s Oklahoma City Field Office at (405) 290-7770.