There is new information on the investigation into Oliver Brazelle, the former youth and music minister at the Sheffield First United Methodist Church.
Thursday afternoon, the church announced that they were first told about possible sexual misconduct allegations against Brazelle in 2003. According to the church, the claims were made by a counselor who said one of their clients claimed Brazelle molested them in the 1970s.
The Bishop and Northwest District of the United Methodist Church met with Brazelle in Birmingham in 2003, where he denied the allegations. Despite his denial, Brazelle was removed from his position as choir minister at that time. The allegation was passed on to DHR and the Sheffield Police Department, which reportedly took no action on the case, as no victim came forward to sign a complaint.
No other incidents involving Brazelle have been reported to the Bishop or the Distict Office.
On Sunday, church spokesman Billy Don Anderson sent a letter to congregation members, reading : "Early last week our pastor, Zeke Haselden, was approached by a person with some very disturbing information that involved our Minister of Music, Oliver Brazelle. Zeke immediately consulted with the District Superintendent and sought Legal Counsel through the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church. After sharing this information with our Staff, Pastor/Parish Relations Committee Chairman, Billy Don Anderson, a decision was made to confront Oliver about this allegation. Oliver admitted to us that he had an inappropriate relationship with a younger member of our church sometime in the 1990's. Zeke and I then informed Oliver that he could no longer serve as an employee of the church. The next day, Saturday, we were delivered information from a third party that pertained to other allegations. Sunday, the SPPRC confirmed previous action taken by the Pastor and the SPPRC Chairman. We want to invite you to join us Friday, August 3rd, at 6:00 p.m. in the sanctuary for special prayer."