By Jimmie Ferguson
Killeen Daily Herald
LAMPASAS – The Rev. Jim Carlton Wooldridge, who has been accused of sexually assaulting a child, has been placed on administrative leave, said a spokeswoman for The Episcopal Diocese of Texas.
"The Diocese of Texas has learned that charges of sexual misconduct have been made against Jim Wooldridge, rector of St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Lampasas," said Carol E. Barnwell, the spokeswoman. "Wooldridge remains on administrative leave and both the leadership of St. Mary's and the Diocese of Texas are cooperating fully with authorities."
Wooldridge, 61, turned himself in late Thursday afternoon at the Lampasas County Jail, where he was then charged with two counts of sexual assault and a charge of indecency with a child, who was 15 years old at the time of the alleged event. Wooldridge was released that evening on an $8,500 total bond.
Barnwell said the diocese has strict policies in place to provide a safe environment for all children, and those policies are being followed.
"The diocese has offered counseling through the police department to the person who brought the allegations to Wooldridge," Barnwell said. "The diocese and St. Mary's are committed to supporting the children in our care and their families as we deal with these allegations."
Wooldridge has pastored the 131-year-old Lampasas church since 1994.
Also arrested in connection with these allegations is John Christian "J.C." Wood, 20, who was charged with sexual assault, indecency with a child and unlawful possession of a firearm. For these offenses, Wood's total bond was set at $13,000. Wood was still in Lampasas County Jail on Monday.
The now 16-year-old male victim, along with his lawyer, filed the charges with the Lampasas Police Department on Dec. 1, 2006, according to the arrest affidavit that detailed how Wooldridge and Wood allegedly sexually exploited the boy.
The Lampasas Police Department was assisted in the investigation by the Texas Rangers.
Contact Jimmie Ferguson at kdhnews.com