The Washington Post reports that Pastor Tommy Shelton has been accused of sexually abusing several young teens in Fairfax, VA when he was the pastor at Community Church of God at 2500 Gallows Road in Dunn Loring from 1995-2000. Two men apparently came forward in 2008. Pastor Shelton was arrested in March and charged with two counts of aggravated sexual battery with a minor and sodomy.

On Thursday there was a preliminary hearing in Fairfax County Virginia and the charges against pastor Shelton were reduced. Judge Kimberly Daniel found probable cause for one count of carnal knowledge and one count of aggravated sexual battery.

Pastor Tommy Shelton is now free on $80,000 bond and the Judge required that he stay in Virginia. The Washington Post also reports that Shelton was previously accused of molesting boys at a church in the 1980’s in Illinois. He was not criminally in Ill. because of the statute of limitations. In Virginia, apparently there is no statute of limitations for such sexual crimes.

Individuals who are sexually abused by a pastor, teacher, priest or anyone else in an authoritative position should consider consulting with an attorney. The civil justice system may allow such individuals to bring a lawsuit against such individuals for assault, batter, negligence and other legal causes of action relating to sexual abuse. Furthermore, the entity that hires an individual who abuses his or her position of authority can be held legally accountable for negligent hiring. Thus a lawsuit can possibly be brought against the church or school rather than just against the individual.

If you are the victim of sexual abuse, please consider calling (888) 213-8140 and speaking to a personal injury attorney at Goldberg Finnegan for a confidential, free consultation about what your options are.