First Methodist Church “Group of Six” tight lipped on alleged sexual abuse investigation

by Steve Wiggins
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SHEFFIELD – “At this point, I think the only thing I can say is, I would just ask everybody to pray for everyone who has been affected by this,” said one of the members  of  The First United Methodist Church. ” The source is one of the six members who presented Pastor Zeke Haselden with the damning allegations against, 78-year old Oliver Brazelle, Music Minister there since 1956. The source continued, “Other than that, we really don’t have a statement at this time. We would rather the formal process that has been initiated now by law enforcement and the church to play itself out.”

Oliver Brazelle

There have been no formal charges filed against Brazelle as of this time. Sheffield Police Chief Greg Ray told The Quad-Cities Daily, “I got all of my detectives together yesterday (Monday) and we discussed these allegations. We spent some time working out a way to go with this, and now the investigation goes forward.” Ray said he hopes to meet with a number of persons in the next few days and get their statements. Ray made it clear that these allegations have yet to be substantiated.

Rumors of sexual impropriety have swirled around the Sheffield community for decades, but contrary to the rumors, there has been little or no evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of Brazelle.

His home in Sheffield’s Rivermont is closed up, and efforts to contact him have proven fruitless.

Brazelle originally hired on at The First United Methodist Church as Youth Minister as well as Music Minister. About 10 years ago, he stepped down from the post of Youth Minister after he suffered a health issue.

Spokesman for The First United Methodist Church, Billy Don Anderson, is expected to issue a media release as early as this afternoon. He indicated that a letter of explanation was sent to parishioners from the church this morning.

Sheffield Police are asking anyone with information to call them 256.383.1771.

See also: Longtime Youth Minister under cloud of suspicion for alleged sexual misconduct

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