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A former pastor of a Princeton church has been charged in Douglas County, Wisconsin with sexually assaulting a child.

Jeffrey Anthony Charles was pastor of Neighbors to Nations Church in Princeton when the alleged assaults occurred between 2005-2010, according to a joint statement from the Wisconsin Attorney General’s Office and the county attorney’s office in Douglas County, Wisconsin.

Charges against Charles were filed on Monday, May 16. He was arrested on Tuesday, May 17 and booked into the Douglas County Jail in Superior, Wisconsin. He is being held in the jail without bond.

The victim was allegedly assaulted three to four times. The victim was between the age of three and seven at the time of the alleged assaults.

Attorney General Josh Kaul and Douglas County District Attorney Mark Fruehauf announced Tuesday, May 17 that Charles, age 61, has been charged with one count of repeated sexual assault of a child, persistent repeater, in connection with the assaults. Charles resided in Danbury, Wisconsin at the time the charges were filed.

According to the criminal complaint, Charles served as the pastor for Neighbors to Nations church in Princeton. The church has since been renamed Souls Church and is located east of the city limits at 8775 Highway 95. 

Parishioners routinely traveled to Charles’ cabin in the Town of Summit, Wisconsin, the complaint states. The complaint states that Charles sexually assaulted the victim at his cabin. 

Fruehauf addressed why the charges were filed more than 10 years after the last sexual assault allegedly occurred.

“It is very common for child sexual assault victims to disclose prior abuse for the first time long after it has happened, sometimes years later,” Fruehauf stated. “Even in that circumstance, crime victims should know that they will be listened to and taken seriously, that their case will be investigated, and that while charges may not be able to be brought in every case, appropriate cases can and will be prosecuted.”

This case was the result of an investigation by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office with assistance from Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Criminal Investigation.

Charles was previously convicted of Sexual Abuse, 3rd Degree, in the state of Iowa in 1997.

Ten years later, in January 2007, Charles wrote and released a book while serving as pastor of the Princeton church. The 226-page book titled “Living the Word of God from the Inside Out,” contains an author’s biography that states Charles was saved from a life of drug addiction. After finding Christ in the 1980s, Charles traveled to over 50 nations and preached to thousands of congregations, the published biography states.

Survivors of clergy or faith leader abuse, their friends and family, or anyone who has information about the actions of Jeffrey Anthony Charles are encouraged to report that information to Wisconsin Department of Justice either online at SupportSurvivors.widoj.gov or by calling 1-877-222-2620.

Reach Jeff Hage at jeff.hage@apgecm.com

 

Editor

Jeff Hage is the managing editor of the Monticello Times. He majored in journalism at the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire.

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