Man pleads guilty to sex assault to halt trial

Kent County
Joseph Cahill

An Oct. 3, 2019, mug shot of Joseph Cahill.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A man facing several sexual assault charges has pleaded guilty, putting a stop to his trial after it had begun.

Joseph Cahill pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a victim under the age of 13 as a fourth-offense habitual offender. Three additional charges of first-degree CSC were dropped under the terms of a plea agreement.

Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker confirmed the pleas came after Cahill’s trial had started.

Cahill, 39, was charged in November 2019 with sexually assaulting one victim more than 20 years ago in Wyoming when he was 18 and the victim 10. The second case, which happened on Grand Rapids’ West Side, dated back to about nine years ago; the victim was younger than 13.

Cahill has a criminal history dating back to 2003 for things like shoplifting, bad checks, domestic violence and attempted assault.

He is a self-described minister in an organization called Word of Faith Apostolic Fellowship International that claims dozens of churches throughout the world, most in Haiti and Rwanda. The organization blends parts of Catholicism, Orthodox and Christian charismatic movement. Though it is based in Kentwood, West Michigan does have any churches from the denomination and Cahill said he never preached here.

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