Lay minister charged with raping teenage girl

Friday, August 16th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) _ United Methodist Church officials have asked a part-time minister to step down from his role after Muskogee County prosecutors charged him with raping a teenage girl.

Woodroe Wilson, who serve as lay missioner for two United Methodist churches, has admitted fathering the girl's 8-month-old child, authorities said Thursday.

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

There could be charges in other counties, prosecutor Jeff Sheridan said.

A lay missioner is not an ordained minister, but Wilson preached on alternate Sundays at Yeager Mission United Methodist Church in Hughes County and Thewarley United Methodist Church in Seminole County.

``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.

The Muskogee County Sheriff's Office found out about the alleged sexual relationship after the girl and her mother visited deputies on Monday.

Deputy Tim Brown called Woodroe Wilson to come 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 alleged. ``Getting details was a little difficult.''

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