DILLON, SC (WMBF) – A pastor and registered sex offender pleaded guilty Wednesday to criminal sexual conduct with a minor and failure to register as a sex offender after he was arrested in May of 2015 in Dillon County.
Judge Markley Dennis sentenced 64-year-old Rudolph Walls to 15 years in prison, the maximum sentence allowed by law, according to Dillon County Assistant Solicitor Shipp Daniel.
Walls was originally facing two counts of criminal sexual conduct, third degree, after several people came forward to file complaints, said Captain David Lane with Dillon Police.
Walls, a pastor at the Friendly Chapel Church on Main Street in Dillon, admitted to sexually molesting a young boy who attended the church, Daniel stated.
Walls is listed as a registered sex offender in the North Carolina Sex Offender Registry. He was convicted of indecent liberty with a minor in 1989, and was released in 1997. His verified address was listed as Old Stake Road in Chadbourn, North Carolina. Walls failed to notify the Dillon County Sheriff's Department that he worked as a preacher in Dillon, as required by law, Daniel stated.
"Obviously, we agree with and are appreciative of the Court's imposing the maximum sentence," said Daniel, who prosecuted the case. "This is a terrible case perpetrated by a man whose position as a pastor makes it that much more heinous. Unfortunately, 15 years is all he could get."
After being released on a $100,000 bond in May, Walls was arrested again in June for assault and battery, first degree, and intimidating a witness for an unrelated case, according to Capt. David Lane with the Dillon Police Department. Court officials have not yet decided what to do about these charges, but they were not included in the charges that Walls pleaded guilty to on Wednesday.