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Convicted sex offender removed as pastor of Newark church
2003-05-07 Newsday

NEWARK, N.J. -- A convicted sex offender who was named pastor of a city church several weeks ago has been removed from the post.

Shiloh Baptist Church leaders had hired the Rev. Chavalis T. Williams in mid-March, even though they knew he had pleaded guilty in Florida to charges of child abuse and using children in a sexual performance.

The decision to hire Williams was sharply criticized at the time by several members of the congregation, and he was removed Thursday following a vote by church officials. Congregation members learned of the decision on Monday from John Sabb, chairman of the church's Board of Deacons, but Sabb would not comment on the vote.

Williams, who still lives in Florida, was not immediately available for comment. He was sentenced to six months in jail and 30 months probation after he admitted in 1999 that he had arranged for two teenagers to have sex in front of him and others while he worked at a facility for troubled youths in Jacksonville.

At the time of his arrest, Williams was on probation after pleading guilty to a wife beating charge.

Williams' ouster was confirmed Tuesday by Joseph Delmar, a spokesman for the state Division of Youth and Family Services. The agency was involved because Williams, as pastor, was a board member of Shiloh Rainbow Academy, the church's day care center.

Delmar said DYFS had warned the academy that Williams could not be allowed on the day care's premises.

"We have been informed by Shiloh that the Rev. Williams is no longer employed by the church," Delmar told The Star-Ledger of Newark for Wednesday's editions. "Our concerns for the safety of the children have been met."

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