Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Kenneth Dyar Wood: Man of God or Rapist?

The following is taken from
Shoalanda Speaks dated May 2, 2009, and October 8, 2011.

Kenneth Dyar Wood is a 70 year-old Pentecostal minister, the father of three daughters, and an accused child rapist. Currently, Wood is being held in the Morgan County Jail with bond set at $70,000.00. According to Morgan County Sheriff Gene Mitchell, the Speake resident has been the subject of a two-month investigation that culminated with his arrest for the rape of a child under the age of twelve.

Specifically, Wood is charged with raping an eleven year-old Colbert County girl at his home in December 2008. During the investigation, two other girls stated that Wood had sexually molested them. According to investigators, more girls and young women have indicated they will now come forward and further charges are likely.

The Barnett Chapel Pentecostal Church where the accused rapist had served as pulpit minister for several years has publicly announced that Wood resigned as of last Sunday. Officials there refused further comment.

Obviously, we will hope no one previously knew of this man's deviant behavior. Married to 68 year-old former Wanda Marie Gillespie, Wood is the father of 42 year-old Tracy Marie Wood HIcks, 38 year-old Wendy Scarlett Wood, and 34 year-old Shelly Kenya Wood. Certainly his church must have seen him as a God-fearing family man who could be trusted with the children of the congregation. Yet, over 13% of religious leaders have admitted to having sex with congregants, consensual and otherwise.

Sadly, the next few days and weeks will reveal the scope of Kenneth Dyar Wood's deviance. It won't be a pretty picture.


The wheels of justice frequently turn slowly; therefore we are never surprised at the length of time between an arrest and indictment, or between an indictment and the actual plea or trial. A reader has sent us a link to an obituary for Wood.

It seems that after being arrested in May 2009 on at least one count of rape of a child under the age of 12, Kenneth Dyar Wood reported to a higher judge than the one he would have faced in Lawrence County. The Pentecostal preacher passed away on May 28, 2010, and was buried June 2nd at Morris Chapel Cemetery. The 71 year-old Wood had possibly faced more charges as other victims were reported to be coming forward.

If Wood was innocent, it's sad that he did not have a chance to redeem his reputation. If guilty, at least his victims and their families know they are now safe from the pedophile who robbed them of so much.