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Minister charged with rape of teen
ROD WALTON World Staff Writer
08/16/2002
Tulsa World (Final Home Edition), Page a1 of News

The 60-year-old Summit man admitted to fathering the girl's 8-month-old child, a deputy says.

MUSKOGEE -- A part-time minister for two United Methodist churches was charged Thursday on accusations that he raped a teenage girl while the two were on their way to church functions.

Woodroe Wilson admitted to fathering the girl's 8-month-old child, authorities said.

The 60-year-old Summit man was arraigned Thursday on one count of first-degree rape even though investigators believe he had sex with the girl more than once. He is in the Muskogee County Jail awaiting $100,000 bail.

"There are venue issues," prosecutor Jeff Sheridan said. "There could be charges in other counties."

Wilson served as lay missioner for two area churches -- Yeager Mission United Methodist Church in Hughes County and Thewarley United Methodist Church in Seminole County. Although a lay missioner is not an ordained minister, Wilson would preach on alternate Sundays at the churches.

"We have some of our smaller churches that don't have licensed, ordained persons to pastor, so we use lay persons to serve," said David Wilson, superintendent for the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference of the United Methodist Church. The two Wilsons are not related.

"They do the preaching but cannot do the sacraments," David Wilson said. "We do trainings for lay missioners about twice a year."

The Muskogee County Sheriff's Office became aware of the alleged sexual relationship after the girl and her mother visited deputies on Monday. Deputy Tim Brown called Wilson in the next day and arrested him later that morning.

"The only thing he did was admit this had happened and, yes, this was his child," Brown said. "Getting details was a little difficult."

Nonetheless, investigators contend that Wilson raped the girl a number of times since she was at least 14 years old. She is now 17.

"The way he tells it is it was consensual," Brown said. "A 13- to 14-year-old girl can't consent."

Wilson, who is married, knew the girl because she and his stepdaughter were friends, the deputy said. The two families would attend church functions together, with Wilson and the girl reportedly traveling in a different vehicle from the others.

The alleged sexual encounters occurred "en route to and from church outings," Brown said. "None of this occurred in the homes or in the church."

The victim's family apparently decided to wait on talking to authorities after DNA testing revealed that Wilson fathered the girl's child.

United Methodist Church officials have asked Wilson to step down from his role in the churches, according to reports.

Rod Walton, World staff writer, can be reached at 581-8457 or via e-mail at rod.walton@tulsaworld.com .



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