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Wednesday, October 21 2020 @ 02:37 AM CDT

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Whited Sepulchers

Pastor of Jensen Beach church again is charged with child abuse

By Keona Gardner

A pastor and civic activist in St. Lucie and Martin counties is facing a claim of child abuse for the second time in three months.

The Martin County Sheriff's Office arrested Rodney McGill, pastor of New Hope Outreach Center in Jensen Beach, on Thursday and charged him with aggravated child abuse. He was originally arrested in April in St. Lucie County after being accused of beating his 16-year-old daughter with an extension cord, a claim he denied. Prosecutors dropped the charges on May 20.

Two days after the charges were dropped, according to a Sewall's Point Police Department report, the daughter was asked to leave the home after she did not put away the milk. The child was returned to the home by a deputy and after the deputy left, McGill grabbed the child from behind, choking her and pushing her into the house, causing the daughter to reopen an abrasion on her back, according to the report.

Next, McGill ordered the girl upstairs where he hit her on the side of her face and head, resulting in her having small cuts on both sides of her nose, right temple, middle of the back and right hip, according to the report.

The girl told police officers she thinks she is going to die every time McGill hits her, according to the report.

According to the police report, another incident took place Wednesday when McGill came into the child's room and told her she had not been obeying the rules. After taking a swing at her and missing, he climbed on top of her and struck her in the head and face as well as choked her, according to the report.

Then McGill also ordered the girl to stand in the shower fully dressed while cold water ran on her and told her that is how he felt when he was arrested in April, according to the report.

While the incident was going on, McGill's wife Shalonda Gibson McGill was yelling in the background, "You gonna listen now, now you understand," according to the report. The Sewall's Point Police Department arrested Shalonda Gibson McGill on Wednesday and charged her with child neglect for failing to protect the child.

An investigator with the Department of Children and Families said when the child was examined she had a small fracture at the top of her nose.

Rodney McGill was released from Martin County Jail on Thursday on $5,000 bail and his wife Shalonda was released Wednesday on $750 bail.

McGill and another man led an October rally in which 300 people protested high utility bills.

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