Sheffield Church Officials Discuss Sex Abuse Allegations

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Sheffield, ALA. (WHNT) - New allegations have come to light since sexual abuse allegations first surfaced at a Shoals church.

Leaders at Sheffield First United Methodist Church spoke Friday for the first time since this news broke.

Long-time member, Billy Don Anderson considered the man at the center of this controversy a close friend.  However, it was Anderson, along with the church's pastor, who first confronted Oliver Brazelle about claims of inappropriate conduct with three young victims.

"Words cannot, cannot describe the pain and sorrow that comes with something like this.  It's impossible," said Anderson, who is serving as the spokesman for the church.

Church officials say Oliver Brazelle admitted to sexual abuse allegations during a meeting.  He was immediately let go of his position, and church officials say Brazelle was calm and showed no emotion.

"I didn't detect anything other than rather, acceptance.  A calmness.  It coulda been from pre-thought. It wasn't a boisterous moment whatsoever," said Anderson.

Anderson wants to remind the congregation and the community about the church's long history.  Anderson says people should not lose faith in other church leaders from what he calls an isolated case.

"I'm convinced, I'm thoroughly convinced this will be a stronger church when we get over this," said Anderson.

But first, Anderson says a healing process must take place inside the church's walls.  He says it will be a long and painful process, but a procedure he says will bring the church together in faith, once again.