Pastor Gaylard Williams earned a good reputation among his evangelical ilk.
The Indiana holy man carried himself with humility, and on the pulpit Gaylard Williams played to his conservative congregants by coming out swinging against homosexuals.
The God-fearing 59-year-old was able to prove himself a servant of God to the elderly followers who filled the pews every Sunday at the Praise Cathedral Church of God in the small hamlet of Seymour, Indiana, to receive his heartfelt sermons.
And Williams presented himself as a dedicated husband for two decades to his wife, who also led the women ministry, and took pride as a father in having reared two upstanding sons.
As a way to be more available to needy souls outside the church, Williams took a clerk job at Walgreens pharmacy.
That’s why it’s hard to figure out how this esteemed pastor found himself in handcuffs, accused by local law enforcement of forcing himself sexually on a young man.
In broad daylight on Dec. 12, Williams allegedly drove over to Cypress Lake, which attracts local fisherman trying to pull channel catfish and largemouth bass out of the drink.
Williams was allegedly behind the wheel of a red 2006 GMC and began propositioning a younger man by the waterfront who was talking on his mobile phone, according to a police report obtained by The Daily Beast.
The younger man rolled down his window to receive the approaching Williams “to see what he wanted.”
The victim, whom The Daily Beast is not naming, asked what Williams wanted and the pastor allegedly “reached in and grabbed him.”
At first the soft approach was tried.
Williams allegedly “wiggled his fingers near his genitals” and told cops the pastor “tried to tickle me.”
When that failed, Williams tried groping the man’s groin.
Quizzed by cops, the younger man said Williams grabbed “everything” and “squeezed [his genitals] and he got a good handful.”
Instantly, the young man panicked and tried to convince his attacker that he wasn’t interested.
“He told Williams, ‘I don’t swing that way.’”
But, according to the report, Williams kept pushing the man for some fellatio: “The guy was trying to get him to suck his dick.”
Again, the younger man protested to Williams he was “barking up the wrong tree.”
The incorrigible pastor then tried to suggest the lakefront was a routine place where he congregated for blowjobs.
“He told him he liked to get his [penis] sucked here and there and [sic] told him to go find somebody then.”
Clearly, the advances were not reciprocated but Williams “continued to talk about sucking dick.”
At which point the victim told the sheriff he warned Williams to back off by showing off his gun, telling Williams he has a permit.
The young man reached for the pistol and when Williams asked what he was doing, the young man told the pastor it was “a handgun if you care to know.”
Williams then retreated and tried to make a dash for it.
The young man had the presence of mind to tail Gaylard Williams out of the park and jot down his license plate.
Jackson County sheriffs dispatched to the lake where the alleged sexual battery claims took place ultimately spotted Williams’s GMC and pulled him over.
Williams said he went to the lake to take a stroll “because of his heart.”
Asked point blank if he touched anybody inappropriately during his lake walk, Williams said he hadn’t.
The pastor told sheriff deputies that he spoke with the younger man “but said nothing inappropriate.”
And then he copped to some incidental contact.
“I only touched his shoulder,” the pastor told sheriffs, according to the police report.
The preacher gave sheriff deputies permission to search his SUV but warned them “there was something bad” inside.
That supposed contraband was a gay porno that Williams tried to suggest was something he was messengering over for a friend.
“Gaylard said he was taking the gay pornography video back to someone.”
He said the video was “a promotional thing” that he received in the mail at his church office.
The investigators asked Williams if he’d ever committed sexual battery, and the pastor mistook the question to be about whether he’d been with a man sexually.
In turn, he told the sheriff he had experimented with gay sex in college.
The sheriff questioning Williams clarified his question and asked Williams again if he’d ever been aggressive with another person to have sex and he said he hadn’t “but as a kid he was the victim.”
Williams was released on his own recognizance over the weekend and is expected back before a judge on Feb. 9, 2015.
A deacon at Pastor Gaylard Williams’s church told The Daily Beast the parish is floored by the “mind-boggling” charges lodged against the man described as “absolutely principled.”
The church member admitted he returned to town to learn of the whopper of a tale: His pastor for almost a decade was caught allegedly soliciting for gay sex acts.
“He’s said that he’s not perfect and that only Jesus Christ was the only perfect person to walk the earth and he was crucified,” the church deacon, who requested anonymity, said in a phone interview.
According to the deacon, Williams made countless house calls and hospital visits whenever he could.
He also took a menial job at Walgreens where he would make himself available at the workplace to anyone who needed him while he stocked shelves.
“He worked the third shift just so he could be available not only on Sundays to preach but during the day up until midnight.
“On some Sundays he came to church with only two hours of sleep.”
When it came to drawing a line in the sand on hot-button religious topics, Pastor Gaylard Williams took issue with gossiping almost as much as he loathed homosexuality.
His homophobia occurred mostly in closed quarters, when the topic of gay marriage was broached.
But everybody in the congregation knew—or thought they knew—where Williams stood when it came to homosexuals: The pastor declared publicly in the past that intimacy among same-sex couples was wicked.
“He stood by the pulpit and said, ‘The Bible is clear on that. That’s sin; you’re going to go to hell for doing that.’”
On the evangelical church’s website the sect aims to live by a code of “Moral Purity.”
“We are to walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lust of the flesh… Sinful practices which are made prominent and condemned in these scriptures include homosexuality and adultery” and “are forbidden by God and lead to the worship of Satan.”
In keeping with the facade, Williams showed himself to be dedicated preacher who “knows his scripture.”
“He’s good,” the deacon attested. “He’s got a ton of verses memorized.”
A Gaylard Williams Sunday sermon (which lasted for 45 minutes on average) was something to behold.
“His sermons were pretty much from his heart,” the deacon told us. “Whatever God had in his heart he would preach.”
And Gaylard Williams admitted that he often preached to himself because he believed that “Preachers need to be preached to too. They’re not above anybody.”
The deacon said he is devastated about the pastor’s behavior. It’s not as much the groping; to him, that remains something of a he-said-he-said mystery. The deacon’s really irate over the porn that was pulled from inside Williams’s car.
“It blows me more,” the deacon said. “Him touching the guy—that’s one of those deals where they each are saying something—but the video is physical…That’s there. I want to know why it was there.”
The deacon said he is demanding an explanation from Williams.
“I’m going to look at him and if he’s standing in front of me I’ll ask him, ‘Let’s hear your story.’ And I think he will tell me.”
But whatever the explanation, Williams’s days leading the church are over, the deacon insisted.
“He cannot preach,” the deacon said. “He’s more than welcome to come to church, even if he’s guilty, because that’s what church is all about.
“But as far as him standing behind the pulpit, that’s not going to happen."