Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Former Woodstock minister charged

A former Woodstock minister was charged Wednesday with sexual assault and sexual exploitation following a complaint from an alleged victim late last week,

David Woodall, a Woodstock resident and the former minister at St. David's United Church, was arrested Wednesday morning and charged with two counts of sexual assault, two counts of sexual exploitation and one count of sexual interference. Following an afternoon appearance, the 53-year-old was released on bail.

Woodall is scheduled to appear at Goderich Provincial Court on June 15 to answer to these charges.

The Huron County OPP criminal investigations unit began its investigation of these allegations on April 25 after receiving a complaint from a male victim, who claimed the church minister had sexually assaulted him several years ago. The original complaint led to additional information about the alleged assault and a second victim.

Both incidents stem from separate "youth" sleepover program that were organized as church functions. The first incident allegedly occurred in Clinton, Ont., in 1991-1992 while the second incident allegedly happened at MacGreggor Provincial Park in Bruce County's Saugeen Township. While the two victims are now adults, both were pre-teens at the time of the alleged offences.

Woodall served as minister at the Clinton United Church from 1985 to 1994. Following an eight-year stint as minister of London's Hyde Park United Church, Woodall served in Woodstock from 2002 to 2006. Since his time at St. David's, Woodall has served as the executive secretary for the United Church's London Conference, which is comprised of eight area presbyteries.

Anyone with further information is asked to contact the Huron County OPP's criminal investigation unit at 519-524-8314 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).