Shifflett out again

Allison Brophy Champion

Staff Writer, Culpeper Star Exponent, Virginia

Saturday, February 18, 2006

More than 10 churchgoers, including two young mothers with babies and a Town Council candidate, crowded into the Culpeper County Magistrate’s Office Friday morning in a show of support for Charles Shifflett, pastor at First Baptist Church of Culpeper.

Shifflett, 54, turned himself in to authorities around 9 a.m. Friday after a warrant was issued Thursday for his arrest. He is charged with felonious assault on a 10-year-old girl in 1990.

Shifflett’s latest detainment marked the fourth time in a month that he has been arrested on charges of child injury, endangerment and indecent liberties.

Handcuffed and dressed in a short-sleeved white shirt, Shifflett appeared in General District Court around 11 a.m. Friday, and was released from jail after noon on a $2,500 secured bond.

“I’m out,” said Shifflett, departing the magistrate’s office with his wife, Janice, and the group of supporters at his side. “No comment,” he said of the ongoing investigation against him. “No ma’am.”

Mrs. Shifflett also had no comment. “I’m not going to say anything,” she said.

Tom Reese, a Culpeper auctioneer running for Town Council in the May election, put up the money for Shifflett’s release and said he also posted the $2,000 bond the first time Shifflett was arrested.

Reese, 76, said he is a 19-year member of Shifflett’s two congregations and a trustee at First Baptist.

Reese, former mayor of Remington, said he is “100 percent sure” of “Preacher’s” innocence.

“Why would somebody wait 26 years, 20 years, 16 years to come forward with this?” Reese said of the pending charges filed against Shifflett by three former students at Calvary Baptist Academy, located next to Calvary Baptist Church, where Shifflett formerly served as pastor.

“I don’t think he did anything wrong,” Reese added. “I know he is not that type of guy.”

Reese tied the recent string of charges to the split of Calvary Baptist Church in November, when Shifflett resigned as preacher there and started First Baptist. His new church meets at Dominion Skating Center on Sunday mornings and evenings and Wednesday night.

“I think some of the people who split from Calvary are the backbone of this thing,” Reese said.

He added that getting Shifflett out of jail was more important than his own political aspirations.

“If it meant freeing the preacher, I’d rather do that than be on Town Council,” said Reese.

New charges

In the new arrest warrant filed Thursday, the alleged victim claimed Shifflett “spanked” her repeatedly during one incident in 1990 when she was 10 and a student at his school.

In her handwritten statement, the now 26-year-old women - whose identity the Star-Exponent has decided to keep anonymous - said Shifflett “called me into his office” to ask about “her sister’s birth control pills.”

“I told him I didn’t know what they were and he told me I was lying. He was also asking me if she was having sex and I told him that I didn’t know and he said I was lying about that. So he told me that I was going to get a spanking. He got a ping pong paddle and started to spank me.”

The alleged victim said she was instructed to “hold my hands together on the edge of the desk” and “if I started to move, made a noise or anything he would hit me harder.”

From his office, the warrant says, they moved into “the main church area where I had to hold the end of a pew. That is when he broke the paddle.”

The woman said she was told “to stand still and don’t move” and when Shifflett returned, “he had a new paddle.” The spanking continued for a “few more minutes,” the woman said, “then it moved into the side hallway where the nurseries were.”

At this point, the woman stated on the arrest warrant, she told Shifflett she had to go to the bathroom, but he refused her permission.

“After a few more minutes, I told him that if I didn’t go I was going to wet myself and he let me go,” she said. “I was hurting so bad at that point that I could barely sit when I got out of the bathroom. He continued until someone came to get him.”

The woman said Shifflett told her “to wash my face and go back to the class and if anyone asked me I just got in trouble and not to tell.”

The alleged victim said she told her father about the reported incident when she got home from school that day: “He looked at my bottom and it was bruised with red marks that looked like blood. He almost took me to the hospital.”

After that, she said, she did not return to Calvary Baptist Academy and her father enrolled her in public school.

“And now that this has come back up I have nightmares about it and can’t sleep,” the woman said, concluding her written statement.

Shifflett is scheduled to appear at a hearing April 4 at 9 a.m. in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. More charges in the ongoing investigation are expected, officials say.

Allison Brophy Champion can be reached at 825-0771 ext. 101 or abrophy@starexponent.com.

Background

In October, the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation of Shifflett, prompted by a church member coming forward with concerns of how the school was run.

- Three of his subsequent four jail bookings resulted from arrest warrants obtained by former students Chad Robison, 29, Liz Bailey, 35 and the woman who filed her citizen complaint through the magistrate’s office Thursday.

- Robison claims Shifflett sexually and physically abused him while he was a student at the school. Bailey obtained a warrant about 10 days after Robinson on charges of sexual abuse against Shifflett.


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See also:

Shifflett back in court, CulpeperTimes.com, 4/25/07

Shifflet, wife face multiple tax fraud charges, Culpeper Star Exponent, 4/17/07