Self-proclaimed minister accused of child sex abuse

Kent County

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — A 37-year-old Big Rapids man, who represents himself as an ordained minister, is facing charges of criminal sexual abuse of little girls.

In one case, investigators say the abuse happened nearly 20 years ago in Wyoming. In another, the allegations are from five to seven years ago at separate addresses on Grand Rapids’ West Side.

But both incidents have the same M.O.

The suspect is Joseph Allen Cahill, who charging documents say he also went by the name “Timothy Allen Cahill.”

Cahill was ordained in an organization called Word of Faith Apostolic Fellowship International that claims dozens of churches throughout the world, most in Haiti and Rwanda.

According to the organization’s leadership, Cahill has been ordained since 2013, serving in churches out of state that blend Catholicism, Orthodox and the Christian charismatic movement.

There are no churches in West Michigan despite it being based in Kentwood.

According to Grand Rapids investigators who swore out an arrest affidavit in Wyoming District Court, Cahill’s father told investigators that his then 18-year-old son had sexually assaulted a 10-year-old girl in 2000 at an apartment in Wyoming near 36th Street and US-131.

Investigators spoke to the alleged victim who told them that Cahill had assaulted her more than 50 times between April 1999 and December 2000.

This information came as police were investigating Cahill for sexually assaulting a girl younger than 13 near Seward Avenue and 11th Street and at apartments near Weston Street and South Division Avenue.

Between 2003 and 2011, he had multiple arrests for things like shoplifting, bad checks, domestic violence and attempted assault with a dangerous weapon.

It is these previous convictions that have Cahill facing a lengthy sentence if convicted.

His attorney, Brent Geers, has asked for a psychiatric exam for Cahill. 

In an email to News 8, Geers said “by answering ‘how’ and ‘why’ these allegations surfaced, we’re confident that the trial process will firmly resolve Mr. Cahill’s role.”

The judge in Wyoming set a $275,000 bond for Cahill and he is being held at the Kent County Jail.

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