Former Sheffield Minister charged with sodomy waives court hearing
FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – A former Sheffield music minister arrested and charged with sodomizing a young boy in the 1990’s has waived his preliminary hearing in Lauderdale County.
This is the same music minister who faced numerous allegations of sexual misconduct in Sheffield two years ago, but charges were never filed.
In a formal complaint filed in Lauderdale County court, 80-year-old Oliver Brazelle is identified as the man who sexually assaulted a 12-year-old boy 4 times over a three year period.
According to the complaint, the first incident happened inside a hotel room in Georgia on a church trip to Six Flags in 1995.
The victim stated to ABI agents the three incidents that followed happened at Brazelle’s lake home in Lauderdale County from 1996 to 1997.
“There are difficulties in prosecuting them when they’re delayed disclosures like this,” stated Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly. “But this is a strong case and we look forward to prosecuting him.”
In July of 2012, Sheffield police launched an inquiry into Brazelle and sexual abuse that may have occurred while he served as music minister at Sheffield First United Methodist Church.
Although several people came forward to talk with investigators, Police Chief Greg Ray said they had to put the case on hold since no one wanted to file a formal complaint.
“It’s pretty bad. It’s really bad and we appreciate the victim for coming forward and having the courage to stand up to this guy so we can bring him to justice,” explained Connolly.
He expects to now present the case to an upcoming grand jury in August.
Oliver Brazelle was fired from his minister position at Sheffield First United Methodist Church when allegations surfaced in 2012.
Brazelle remains free on a bail totaling $10,000.
He is charged with sodomy and four counts of sexual abuse.