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Update: Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor William Oswald Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison for Sexually Abusing Children

william oswald

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

In 2019, William Oswald, the former pastor of Dunn’s Chapel Church in West Columbia, South Carolina, was accused of sexually assaulting two minors numerous times over the space of ten years.

WBTV-3 reported:

A former pastor of Dunn’s Chapel Church in South Congaree is charged with 12 counts of criminal sexual conduct with a child, after two victims came forward last week.

William Oswald, 56, was denied bond on Wednesday morning and remains jailed at the Lexington County Detention Center ahead of his next court appearance in May.

According to investigators, two victims allege the sexual abuse took place between 1996 and 2001 at Dunn’s Chapel Church, where Oswald was a pastor. According to the incident report, the victims described in graphic detail the alleged sexual assaults, each stating they were assaulted more than a one hundred times during the time period. The victims said the alleged abuse began when they were around the age of eight and continued until their early teens.

he two victims were inside the courtroom Wednesday morning during Oswald’s bond hearing. One said she feels empowered by stepping forward and reporting the alleged abuse.
“I just finally feel safe because he’s not going to be able to touch me again or get out,” she said. “Over the years he just always manipulates the situation so no matter how many boundaries you try to put up he ends up getting back in and he can’t do that anymore, I hope.”
The victim said she knows of other victims that have yet to come forward. South Congaree Police said there are likely other victims in different jurisdictions.

….

“I know of several already, some that are still too afraid to speak,” she said.

She said she wanted to speak in hopes of encouraging other victims to step forward.

“There’s hope and it’s okay to speak and even if it takes you a while and years to feel safe and be separated enough it’s okay to speak, you can feel safe again,” she said.

Four years later, Oswald was convicted and sentenced to forty years in prison.

The Lexington Ledger reports:

William “Bill” Oswald, the former pastor at Dunn’s Chapel in South Congaree, has been sentenced to 40 years in prison after being convicted of sexually assaulting two minors over a period that exceeded 10 years. According to testimony from the now grown women, there were hundreds of instances when these assaults occurred.

While at Dunns, Oswald was active in the community. He was the volunteer chaplain at the fire station in the town and was raising his family in the parsonage on the church grounds. These assaults happened during the period from 1996 to 2001 when Oswald was at Dunns.

His crimes went undetected for many years. The victims only told their stories after becoming adults. South Congaree Police Chief Josh Shumpert and other members of his department investigated the crime. Because of his age, Oswald, who is now 62 years old, will most likely spend the rest of his natural life in prison.

19 Comments

  1. Avatar
    TheDutchGuy

    Life in prison is appropriate for any child molester whether youthful or elderly. Apparently they are not redeemable and should never be at large in society again once they are identified. The fact that such people exist seems to be evidence that God does not.

    • Avatar
      Revival Fires

      Disgusting prison rape porn comment deleted.

      Child molesters should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, but sexual assault is wrong regardless of who is doing it and who the victim is.

    • Avatar
      Revival Fire

      No dutch actually it shows proof of the depravity and vile sickness of man.

      God who is Holy and righteous created man perfect but man chose to go the way of sin.

      • Avatar
        ... Zoe ~

        If God created man perfect, then he is imperfect, because man is not perfect. Man did not choose. God chose. Knew from the beginning of time. His plan. All of it. His. Your issue is with God and his plan.

  2. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    Notice that the victims didn’t come forward until they were adults. That is typical because of the fear, especially in authoritarian religious communities, of speaking up against an authority figure.

    I hope that he never sees the light of day again—and that his victims are getting whatever help they need.

    • Avatar
      TheDutchGuy

      Victims (like myself) don’t (didn’t) come forward until adulthood because of shame, denial, avoidance, and most importantly, misplaced guilt. Children internalize blame for problems involving them however remotely. A child can’t reason children aren’t responsible for what’s wrong in the world. I felt guilt for world war 2 which was a fact of my child hood. My older sister told me everything was alright till I was born. I couldn’t deny it.

      Suppressed memories of abuse persist into adulthood and sometimes for life. Predators cleverly target children of single parents and troubled, broken homes, knowing their vulnerability, lacking supportive adults they trust. Kids of troubled homes, already feeling responsible for everything, avoid trouble, if possible, so they keep quiet. One can be amnesiac about childhood abuse but the recorder in the subconscious mind never forgets and the damage is lifelong.

      • Avatar
        Yulya Sevelova

        I’m so sorry that happened to you,Dutchguy ! Lately, there’s been a lot of information coming out on video ( You Tube) about children in dysfunctional families who are scapegoated, assigned that role at birth, usually. Older siblings often join in the abuse towards the scapegoat. What your ” golden child” sister said about your family situation was ” alright” until you were born, is quite typical. It’s nearly impossible to have one’s oppressors in a toxic family environment see the light, and change/ stop the role of enforcer or abuser. Became of this, one is forced to choose between low or no- contact with such a family. And have high boundaries with them, regardless.

        • Avatar
          TheDutchGuy

          Very insightful. You’re right about avoiding abusers. They just keep doing it. I was a late child in a home with two resentful teenagers. One became my reluctant surrogate mother and her negative influence over my self esteem continued into adulthood. In my twenties, her assaults on my feelings caused me to disappear her from my life. Scapegoating became my trigger as I realized how I was victimized by it. I had internalized an unhealthy tolerance for blame and willingly, even proudly, took responsibility for whatever. Becoming aware I did this, I started reacting to any suggestion of blame for anything. The result has been cutting off contact with relatives and friends i catch scapegoating me. Once making a break I’m unable to forgive. It’s lonely being a bit sensitive but, I’m pleased to report, abusive people cut out of my life aren’t missed. I suspect it means they were a negative influence all along.

          Abusive personalities populated my adult life due to an unhealthy tolerance for abuse learned in childhood. My advice is write abusers out of your script. It’s hard but you wont regret it. I trust my gut now when it comes to how people make me feel.

  3. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    Dutch Guy—You are right. When I was abused, I didn’t even know the names of the parts of my body that priest touched.And when I could describe what happened, I did feel as though I’d somehow been in the wrong. I believe that had something to do with being the eldest child, not only of my parents, but among my cousins. I was often blamed for my younger siblings’ and cousins’ misbehavior. It took me decades to not only talk or write about my abuse, but also that I did nothing to “bring it on myself.”

    • Avatar
      Yulya Sevelova

      Yep, telling survivors of this kind of abuse often hear that they ” brought it on themselves,” as well as the scapegoat roles of being blamed as a child for what other family members did. So typical. Change from the bottom up, that’s where it would happen, if it happens at all !

  4. Avatar
    Charles

    I am very sorry for those who here were sexually abused in the Catholic “church” and other places as a child heart goes out to you. I understand that’s part of why you won’t accept Jesus.

    Christ the Savior is not like the vile priest who abused you I pray you find him and receive him this Christmas season. THE GREATEST GIFT!

    • Avatar
      John S.

      So Charles, with all respect, she should try a non-Catholic church where there is absolutely no chance whatsoever that there will be a pervert in a position of authority? Like a “yay-Jesus” non-denominational church with a cool band and comfy chairs? Like the New Life Christian Church in Indiana? Definitely not an evil nasty Catholic Church. And guess what? The good married pastor had been abusing one of his female parishioners since she was 16. And like the performance based religion it is, the good Pastor got up on stage in front of everyone to “confess” the sin of…wait for it..adultery. Not child sexual abuse..not sexual battery..adultery. A real cool Jimmy Swaggart style evangelical performance, following the cool music and hand waiving and light show. This is where “real Jesus” is?
      I have said before and will say again as the out in the open Catholic on this page- I will never excuse or minimize the abuse MJ or anyone else received at the hands of the church I attend. Frankly I hope the Catholic Church ends up poor and less influential, because maybe then it will discover some humility and accountability for its place in history. But please spare me the bullshit of “hoorah for my church”. Abusive culture is endemic in institutions, particularly religious ones.
      Nothing personal against you, Charles, but I’m tired of the singling out of one particular religion by those who claim their “Jesus” is the real Jesus so no potential for abuse with us.

    • Avatar
      Astreja

      Charles, I for one am not interested in this bogus “gift,” a proxy human sacrifice of a heavily mythologized and almost certainly long-dead rabbi who left no footprints of his own on history. All we have is a collection of ludicrous and historically inaccurate stories, written by anonymous authors in Greek rather than Aramaic, decades after the alleged events.

      Or, to put it another way, there’s nothing to accept. Ultimately we all die and remain that way – no “salvation,” no eternal life. Belief in this “Jesus” character can only confer such benefits as the believers themselves can imagine into being – in other words, perhaps a bit of comfort from the placebo effect but not much else.

    • Avatar
      Sage

      You know what is vile? To read the post of someone who just described their abuse by powerful men in churches and respond by saying “not all churches!” Then, to make it even better, tell them you hope they find your god because you have judged them as damaged or broken.

      In reality, many people in the world, your god is literally the greatest abuser.

      Maybe your should stop trying to fix other people and spend the time fixing your own life, and maybe work to fix these abusive churches from the inside.

    • Avatar
      Yulya Sevelova

      Charles S., you need to realize that the behaviors of these types of leaders in churches of all kinds, is causing the ” greatest gift” to become repulsive !! There should be a grass roots movement to eradicate these embedded molesters from church congregations. The families that DON’T engage in anti- child behavior should be active in doing exactly that ! It’s pretty much guaranteed that it won’t start at the top. This goes for child/ baby beaters as well !

    • Avatar
      MJ Lisbeth

      Charles—Every victim needs empathy, help and healing. Telling a victim “I’m sorry “ and following it with a directive to accept someone or something they can’t see, hear or feel just adds to their pain.

      I know. I “accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.” What I needed were therapy and actual human confidantes—and to write. Perhaps one day I will be more public about my experience. If I am, I will not tell people what they must or should do. And I certainly won’t tell them to put their faith in the same beings their victimizers claim as the center of their lives.

    • Avatar
      clubschadenfreude

      and more lies from cultists. Funny how this god doesn’t do anything to stop these people, and yes, dear, they are as much christians as you are.

      “once upon a time” this god had no problem with just killing people like that. So now it seems it either doesn’t exist or approves of what these christians do.

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Bruce Gerencser