BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Birmingham police are actively investigating the sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl Sunday morning at a local church.
According to police the assault happened in a women’s bathroom inside the church as the church service was underway.
Investigators say the girl was accosted by someone who entered the church then entered the women’s bathroom.
Investigators said it happened around 11:45 am at the Greater Temple Missionary Baptist Church on 4th Ave., West.
Lt Scott Thurmond with the Birmingham Police Department says officers located a person of interest matching the description of the attacker several blocks away. Thurmond says the person of interest had an outstanding warrant with another agency on an unrelated charge. The person of interest has not been identified, but has been transferred to the other law-enforcement agency and is being held with no bond according to investigators.
No one has been arrested or charged in connection with the sex abuse investigation at this point according to police. Lt. Thurmond says it is a very active investigation.
“It is by no means over with. It’s just there’s a lot of things that need to be done and followed up on our end. And so we’re working as quickly as possible to get those things done. If this person is a suspect he’s not out at large where anybody else can be victimized,” said Thurmond.
Greater Temple Missionary Baptist Church Associate minister Kerry Gibson says the congregation is in shock. Gibson says during the Sunday morning service members heard the young lady screaming and then she came into the worship service. Gibson says nothing like this has ever happened before to their church. They have absolutely no idea who could be responsible but assume it was a random person.
“It’s very unfortunate. It is not something you would normally expect. You wouldn’t expect that someone would have a mindset to come into the church with that particular type of attitude and desiring to do that even within the church. We’ve got all different kinds of individuals out here and the times that we’re living in, we just don’t know. It means that we’ve got to be a little bit more vigilant. The church is going to have to be a little bit more vigilant. And the church is going to have to begin to look out a little bit more security wise for what’s going on even during service,” said Associate Minister Kerry Gibson.
“Our hearts go out to the family and we’re praying for them. And we’re praying for their recovery,” he continued.
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