GREEN COVE SPRINGS – A retired pastor with years of community service faces sexual battery charges following an investigation by the Orange Park Police Department.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office arrested William Henry Randall, 73, on May 4 at 4:19 p.m. at his home on Fleming Island. He is charged with sexual battery by a custodian on a victim between the age of 12 and under age 18.
According to the warrant, the investigation began on September 20, 2015 when the victim went to the OPPD headquarters where she told a detective that Randall “had been molesting and raping her since 2007.”
Randall, former pastor of St. Simon Baptist Church, also founded Miller Street Renewal, a nonprofit aimed at improving impoverished living conditions for residents along Miller Street in the core of Orange Park. Randall has also served on the Clay County Development Authority and also spearheads the annual MLK Day-N-Clay event commemorating the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The victim said she began attending Randall’s church in 2007 and, shortly thereafter, the sexual encounters occurred at the church. The victim told police that Randall would ask her to take off her clothes and perform oral sex on him, according to the warrant.
“She said the sexual encounters would happen after church services and also on weekdays when she would go to the church by herself to clean and provide lawn services,” states the warrant. “She said Randall would tell her not to tell anyone about the sexual encounters because it would ruin both of their lives.”
The victim said that after the encounters, Randall would “give her some money or take her out to lunch.” According to police, the victim never told anyone about the encounters because she was scared she would be disciplined by her mother. She also said she was embarrassed about the situation because of their age difference.
According to the warrant, the encounters continued until two days before she went to the talk to police.
About a month later, on October 15, 2015, police said, Randall denied the accusations and said he never had sex with the victim. Police conducted a second interview on September 21, 2017 in Randall’s home, however, redactions on the warrant cover how Randall reacted in that interview.
The warrant for his arrest is dated May 3, 2018.
Randall was booked into the Clay County Jail on the charge, but is now free on bond.
Along with his community activism, Randall unsuccessfully ran against disgraced Congresswoman Corrine Brown in 1998.