Members of a congregation in South Carolina are still "shocked" after learning that a youth pastor at their church had been accused of secretly recording women and teenage girls in the church bathroom on several occasions over the past year.
From 2016 until late last month, Daniel Kellan Mayfield, 35, was a youth or "student" pastor at Gowensville Baptist Church in Landrum, South Carolina, in the northwest region of the state, just south of the North Carolina border. However, he lost his job shortly after May 27, when an unidentified woman claimed that he had stood outside the window of her mother's house and filmed her while she was in her mother's bathroom taking a shower.
The woman told police that, while she was in the bathroom, she saw a light coming from outside. When she went to investigate, she found Mayfield standing alone in the backyard. Though he initially denied doing anything untoward, he eventually admitted that he had been filming the woman and allowed her to see the recording on his cellphone, a police report said. Just before the recording ended, Mayfield can be heard yelling, "Oh s***!," because the woman had become "aware of his presence," the police report noted.
Mayfield, who is married, also reportedly confessed to the crime to police. He was arrested and charged with voyeurism in connection to that incident.
However, after police searched his phone, which had apparently been seized, they discovered other recordings that suggested that Mayfield had violated other women and girls in a similar manner. Police claim that on his phone was evidence that he "had unlawfully filmed multiple girls, as young as 14 years-old, while in the bathroom of Gowensville Baptist Church."
Investigators have allegedly found recordings captured in the bathroom on at least three separate occasions dating back to last July. In at least two of those recordings, a minor was "in a state of sexually explicit nudity while she was in a closed bathroom changing clothes," the affidavit said.
Greenville County deputies have identified five victims thus far but believe there may be more. Mayfield allegedly confessed to recording those secret videos as well and has been charged with five counts of first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor in connection to them. He is currently being held in Greenville County Detention Center without bond.
At a hearing on Thursday, one male congregant, who may be the father of one of the alleged victims, argued against giving Mayfield bail. "[Mayfield] was entrusted with our children," the man said. "He took advantage of them in a vulnerable situation. This is not just a one-time deal, it seems to be going on much longer. We don't feel he needs to be released for any reason."
Almost immediately after learning about the charges against him, leaders at Gowensville Baptist terminated Mayfield and posted a statement about his supposed "moral misconduct" on the homepage of the church's website.
"On May 27th, 2023, First Baptist Gowensville leadership was made aware of an incident of moral misconduct perpetrated by one of our staff members. Proper authorities were notified immediately, and the employee was terminated from his role," the statement read. "Due to the nature of the investigation, FBC Gowensville refers all questions to the law enforcement authorities involved. We remain dedicated to providing a safe worship environment and will be ever vigilant in protecting all persons involved in any of our events."
Law enforcement confirmed that the church "has been completely cooperative" with the investigation. Investigators said they are confident that Mayfield "acted alone" and that they "do not have reason to believe anyone from the church had knowledge of the unlawful activity."
Kent Smith, an associate pastor of Gowensville Baptist, told the media that the entire congregation is "shocked" by the allegations. "When you know somebody for years like that, that’s the reaction people have," he said.
Former South Carolina youth pastor now charged with recording girls in church bathroom, deputies saywww.youtube.com
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