The Alabama Bureau of Investigation arrested Oliver Brazelle Monday. Brazelle is the former minister of music at First United Methodist Church in Sheffield.
The church conducted an internal investigation and reportedly discovered inappropriate behavior between Brazelle and three male victims. Church leaders turned their findings over to police. Brazelle was booked in the Lauderdale County Detention Center on charges of sodomy and sexual abuse. The church held a prayer service for healing a few days after Brazelle’s dismissal. Phones were not answered at the church when AL.com called for a comment the afternoon of Thursday, Jan. 9.
Sheffield Police Chief Greg Ray told Florence’s Times Daily that he hoped the fact that Brazelle has now been charged might embolden other victims to come forward. Ray said that his investigation in July 2012 was stymied after a month because the person who made the initial accusation to them would not agree to come forward.
“Officially, we never had a victim,” Ray told the Times Daily.
Brazelle is free on a $45,000 bond. Both of the charges against him are felonies. Second-degree sexual abuse, a Class C felony, is punishable by 1-10 years in prison. Second-degree sodomy, a Class B felony, carries a penalty of 2-20 years in prison
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