GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – An Upstate man accused of sexually assaulting a child back in the 80’s is out of jail. The accusations stem back to his time working at a local church.
We’re hearing from a victim who came forward decades later.
The sheriff’s office says they have reason to believe there could be other victims because Timothy Lee Anders was charged for assaulting other children back in 2013 the woman we spoke to wants to keep her identity a secret and hopes her story will inspire others to come forward.
“I rode the church van,” she said. “He’d pick me up from my apartment along with many other children.”
That’s how she met Anders – while he worked for Wrenn Memorial Baptist Church. She says he went beyond maintenance work and driving the church van.
“Picnics to the park, he would buy us candy, gave us money, ice cream,” she said.
She was about 8 years old in the early 1980’s when she says the man she knew as ‘Tim’ and describes as funny became scary.
“First time he approached me, I remember him rubbing my leg and sticking his hand up my dress,” she said.
She says she was afraid to tell anyone, including her mom who she’s always been close with.
“I can remember specifically being told that if I told anyone that he would kill my mother, that he would kill me,” she said. “He even said it one time that he’d kill himself and it would be my own fault.”
Even into adulthood she says her dark secret caused anxiety and depression.
“I’ve actually been to the sheriff’s office multiple multiple times and sat in the parking lot and couldn’t get out and go in,” she said.
Inspired by a similar case she made a report about Anders – and it wasn’t his first time facing these accusations. 7News covered his arrest in 2013 when he had 27 charges for sexually assaulting at least 2 children who deputies say he also met working at that church in the 1970’s.
“It’s not surprising at all. In fact, often, victims delay disclosure,” said Julie Valentine Center Executive Director Shauna Galloway-Williams.
This victim says – though challenging – it’s never too late to tell.
“It’s really been even harder since I came out and said something,” she said. “I feel much better now that I’ve said something. I feel like I’m freer now.”
The Julie Valentine Center offers services at no charge for folks who may just want to talk about their abuse. They have a 24/7 hotline with information and resources: 864-467-3633.