Hilliard police investigating sexual assault reports at Open Gate church

Hilliard police cruiser. (File photo)
Hilliard police cruiser. (File photo)

The Hilliard Division of Police announced Wednesday that it is investigating sexual assault reports from as far back as a decade ago involving children at a former church.

The alleged incidents took place at the Open Gate Church of God, located at 4410 Avery Road, from about 2012 to 2014, according to a Hilliard police release.

Police say multiple female victims have reported alleged sexual assault incidents involving a male youth member of Open Gate who previously assisted in the children’s and teen rooms. The victims were under the age of 10 at the time of the alleged assaults, police said.

No charges have been filed, and the investigation is ongoing.

Open Gate Church of God appears to be closed, with its website now defunct. One phone number listed online for the church rang a couple times for The Dispatch and then suddenly stopped. A second phone number was disconnected.

New Beginnings Church of God now apparently occupies the building where Open Gate Church of God operated. Church leadership at New Beginnings could not immediately be reached by The Dispatch.

Hilliard police said the church is now under new leadership and the investigation does not involve any current staff.

Police Chief Michael Woods encouraged anyone who may have been assaulted or with information about alleged assaults to come forward, noting that it is never too late to come forward with information about a crime.

“We’re asking parents and responsible adults to facilitate open and honest conversations with their children about any inappropriate behavior they may have witnessed or experienced,” Woods said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Tom Morris at 614-334-2473 or tmorris@hilliardohio.gov.



This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Hilliard police investigating church for reports of sexual assault