A former South Carolina youth pastor was arrested and charged last week on accusations he videotaped at least six different women and girls while they showered, the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office said.
The 35-year-old pastor, Daniel Kellan Mayfield, is facing five counts of first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of voyeurism.
The sheriff’s office said Mayfield admitted to videotaping a woman while she was in the shower May 27. According to an incident report, a woman told deputies she was showering at her mother’s house when she saw a light outside the bathroom window. When she went to look, she said she saw Mayfield standing in the backyard alone.
Deputies spoke with Mayfield and say he admitted to filming the woman.
Following this incident, deputies in Greenville County investigated and discovered that Mayfield allegedly filmed multiple girls in the bathroom of Gowensville Baptist Church in Landrum. They’ve identified six victims so far, saying they are as young as 14 years old.
The church said in a statement that late last month its “leadership was made aware of an incident of moral misconduct perpetrated by one of our staff members,” and that Mayfield was subsequently fired.
“You would never think someone you know – that’s like a family, because that’s what our church is, it’s like a family – you would never think something so devastating would happen in that little circle of people,” church member Isabella Godfry told WYFF News 4.
“I’m concerned about my wife and my daughters being on that camera,” Benjamin Green, a member of the church, told WJBF.
A parent of one of the alleged victims spoke during Mayfield’s appearance in front of a magistrate court judge, telling the judge the families “entrusted [Mayfield] with our children.”
“He took advantage of them in a vulnerable situation,” the parent alleged. “And this is not just a one-time deal. It seems to be going on much longer. We don’t feel like he needs to be released for any reason.”
Mayfield’s arrest comes at a time when conservative state lawmakers are advancing — and passing — bills across the nation that take direct aim at the LGBTQ+ community, with bills to repeal nondiscrimination protections, legalize conversion therapy, exclude transgender kids from athletics, bar transgender kids from bathrooms and locker rooms and even bills banning drag performances.
The American Civil Liberties Union is currently tracking nearly 500 anti-LGBTQ bills in the U.S. The bills advance in state legislatures as LGBTQ+ people face rising threats to their safety and right-wing groups continue to protest family-friendly activities like drag queen story hours.
Nearly 1 in 5 of any type of hate crime is now motivated by anti-LGBTQ+ bias, reports HRC.
Over 310 transgender and gender non-conforming people have lost their lives to fatal violence in the past decade, a third of whom were killed in the last three years; Texas and Florida, two of the states leading the current wave of anti-transgender legislation, collectively were home to almost 20% of all victims.