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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Pastor William Wahl Charged With Criminal Sexual Conduct

william wahl

William Wahl, a youth pastor at The River Church in Kimball, Michigan, has been charged with two second degree counts of criminal sexual conduct, two fourth degree counts of criminal sexual conduct, one count of aggravated indecent exposure, one count of distributing explicit material of children, and one count of using a computer to commit a crime. As of the date of this post, four victims have been identified.

M-Live reports:

A former youth pastor at The River Church in Kimball Township has been arrested and charged with four counts of criminal sexual conduct and three other felony charges.

Port Huron resident William Stefan Wahl, 27, is facing two second degree counts of criminal sexual conduct, two fourth degree counts of criminal sexual conduct, one count of aggravated indecent exposure, one count of distributing explicit material of children and one count of using a computer to commit a crime.


Police say an the investigation began in late 2021 after hearing allegations of sexual assault of a child by the youth pastor.

The investigation revealed that there were four victims alleging sexual abuse going back to 2014.

A Port Huron Times Herald report states Wahl was terminated last year as an employee by the church’s Board of Elders after the allegations came to light and filed a report with authorities.

The Church is pastored by Bill and Kim Wahl, and Matt Wahl is the associate pastor. I suspect William Wahl is related to them.

The Times Herald adds:

St. Clair County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Cailin Wilson said the alleged incidents took place between 2014 and 2021, when Wahl was over 17 years old and with victims ranging from 10 to 17 years old. 

In response to the allegations, Bill Wahl, co-lead pastor of The River church, sent a press release dated Nov. 2, 2021, that stated The River Churches Board of Elders were made aware of a possible child abuse incident perpetrated by an employee against two minors. 

The board immediately began an investigation of the facts, assuring that all involved parents were notified. Within hours, the employee was terminated and the board filed a report with the proper authorities to investigate the matter, the press release said.

The Christian Post adds:

A 28-year-old youth pastor in Michigan has been charged with sexually assaulting four children and faces charges of indecent exposure and distributing explicit content.

William Stefan Wahl, who worked at the River Church in Kimball, was charged Friday with two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct of a person younger than 13 and two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct of a person ages 13 to 16, according to court records. 

He was also charged with distributing obscene matter to children, aggravated indecent exposure and using computers to commit a crime.

Wahl refused to enter a plea as records indicate that he “stood mute” during his arraignment. 

Wahl is accused of sexually abusing four juvenile victims from the church, St. Clair County Sheriff Mat King was quoted as saying by The Port Huron Times Herald.

The sheriff’s office began investigating Wahl after it received a complaint of sexual assault of a child in late 2021. According to Fox 2, the investigation revealed that there were four victims involved — two of which were younger than 13 — and some of allegations dated back to 2014.

The Times Herald noted that the victims ranged in age from 10 to 17. There could be more victims, authorities believe.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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  1. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    I wondered if this guy’s parents are the pastors of this church he worked in. Was his deeds an act of spite,to pay his parents back for how they treated him in childhood ? He HAD to be aware of the effect on their lives,all these sick things he did,right. Think of the hatred that drove all this. I wonder what things he was exposed to in his youth. He has zero defense for his actions, because once you know right from wrong, you’re not a kid anymore. Now his life is over. And children he came into contact with are traumatized forever.

  2. Avatar
    Mizz Raul

    Yes, he is the son of the lead pastor. A lot of the Wahl family are in leadership at this church. Allegedly, allegations were brought against William Stefan Wahl back in 2014. Being an ex-pastor’s kid and ex-pastor’s wife, I see how these things have been covered up in many churches I’ve been in and I have to wonder if this was all a big cover up as well.

    Something to note, there is a pastor/counselor from a xhurch near The River who is now in federal prison. Jack Woodburn. His son has also had allegations brought against him but nothing legally.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      Thanks for commenting.

      Rosa Rubicondior fleshed out the family connections:

      “The River church is something of a Wahl family cult, with husband and wife, Bill and Kim Wahl as co-lead pastors and associate pastor, Matt Wahl, their son. Kid’s pastor, Danielle Oakey, nee Wahl, is Bill’s and Kim’s daughter; her husband Dylan is the young adult pastor. Another of Bill’s & Kim’s daughter’s, Gabrielle, is ‘spiritual care pastor’ and her husband, Scott Smith, is ‘community pastor’. This much can be gleaned from listening to the sanctimonious, self-congratulatory ‘stories’ on their website. What can’t be gleaned, is the relationship between William Stephan Wahl and Bill and Kim, nor their relationship to Bill Forbes, Senior pastor, though I suspect he’s Kim’s dad.”

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