Former Seacoast Student Ministry Leader Charged with Assaulting Multiple Underage Girls
A former youth pastor at Seacoast Church has been arrested on 13 counts of Assault & Battery 2nd degree.
In December 2022, Seacoast Church placed its Youth Pastor, Vernon Willis (right), on administrative leave after multiple minors reported being touched inappropriately by Willis while attending youth group at Seacoast Church in North Charleston. Following an internal investigation, Seacoast families were informed in a letter dated December 14th, 2022 of his termination and encouraged to report any concerns to Seacoast Executive Team members.
With the assistance of the North Charleston Police Department, forensic evaluations were conducted on multiple minor children, culminating in arrest warrants being issued and served on Willis.
The Peper Law Firm, which is representing the families of the alleged victims, released the following statement:
“Immediately upon being retained by these families, The Peper Law Firm initiated an investigation into the acts of Mr. Willis and Seacoast Church. Our investigation confirmed that Seacoast Church allowed Mr. Willis unfettered access to one-on-one contact with multiple female minors without any supervision, all while acting within the course and scope of his employment. Further, Seacoast had direct knowledge of his proclivity to use his role as youth pastor to unlawfully touch and seclude minor females on the church campus as far back as 2020, yet continued his employ without providing any training or supervision. Seacoast Church had the ability to protect these innocent children and purposely failed to do so. This is intolerable, and the families intend to hold Mr. Willis and Seacoast responsible for their actions and inactions.”
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