A local church has been named in a civil lawsuit following a sexual assault that took place in 2005.
A civil action was filed with the Greenwood County Clerk of Court on March 10 on behalf of a victim who was a minor at the time of the incident in 2006. The suit names William Scott Holladay and South Main Street Baptist Church as defendants.
According to court records, Holladay was charged with committing a lewd act on minor and disseminating obscene material to a minor in March 2005 following an investigation by the Greenwood Police Department.
According to the GPD report, police were called to the church by a pastor on March 9 after the parent of a 9-year-old boy found a pack of cigarettes in the boy’s book bag. When questioned about the cigarettes, the boy told his parents and police that he was given the cigarettes by Holladay. The boy also told police that Holladay had shown him pictures of naked women at Holladay’s house and committed lewd acts in front of him. At the time, Holladay was an employee of the church and lived in a house owned by the church. The victim was in the after school program at the church.
According to the report, Holladay admitted to giving the boy cigarettes and showing him pictures of men and women in the midst of various sex acts. Holladay took police to his house and retrieved the pictures from the closet of a playroom used by his 5-year-old daughter. Holladay denied ever committing any lewd acts in front of the victim. The victim told police that Holladay had been giving him cigarettes for several weeks and had committed lewd acts in front of him on multiple occasions.
Court documents show that prosecutors at the time recommended Holladay plead guilty to charges of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature and disseminating obscene material to a minor with a recommended sentence of 10 years in prison suspended to 90 days in jail and five years of probation. In addition, Holladay was required to register as a sex offender, not have any unsupervised contact with minors and undergo sex offender counseling. Holladay pleaded guilty to the charges on June 23, 2006. He was incarcerated at the Greenwood County detention Center from that date until July 28, 2006.
According to the complaint, Holladay sexually assaulted the victim addition to committing the lewd acts in front of him. Attorneys allege that Holladay was not only permitted to take the victim to his house, but encouraged to do so. It also alleges that the church had no written policies concerning child abuse prevention at the time of the incident and failed to train Holladay and other employees to avoid one-on-one direct access with children.
Officials with South Main Street Baptist Church declined comment on the lawsuit, saying they were unaware of any pending litigation.