ORLANDO, Fla. - A year ago, an Orlando pastor was arrested on allegations that he sexually abused a 17-year-old girl, and Tuesday, the teenager, Kenia Gilles and another abuse victim, Jeny Desronvil, held a news conference to help women who might find themselves in a similar situation, an Osborne & Francis Law Firm news release said.
Billy Leveille was a pastor at the Seventh Day Adventist Church on Rio Grande Avenue, but once the allegations surfaced, he was fired and banned from being a pastor at the congregation, according to a police report.
Gilles and Desronvil have filed a lawsuit against the Florida Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists and Leveille. The women are choosing to identify themselves and speak publicly, the release said.
"Everyone has been making up their own story for us," Gilles said. "I was a junior in high school and you can imagine. I was basically hiding. I changed my number; having to deal with harassment on all types of social media platforms because of what happened."
The pair attended Bethel Eglise Haitienne Des Adventistes Church in Orlando, where Leveille was the senior pastor, the release said. Gilles and Desronvil had attended the church since they were children, and in the summer of 2016, they were appointed to the church's secretarial team; a highly sought-after position within the church, according to the release.
"I've listened to people give their specific opinion of me. If I continued to still listen to those people, I would not be here today," Desronvil said.
The women said it was during that time that Leveille abused them.
“At some point, police were alerted to the abuse and contacted Kenia and her father and interviewed her. They conducted a controlled call with Leveille, which corroborated Kenia's version of events,” the release stated.
Attorneys for the victims allege the Florida Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists was negligent in supervising Leveille and others at the church.
"Leveille was charged with unlawful sexual activity with a minor and child abuse. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to seven years of probation," according to the law firm.
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