COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Ohio Parole Board is hearing a petition this week that could set a convicted child rapist free. But a man who helped send William Wasmus to prison is trying to convince the Parole Board that he needs to stay behind bars.
William Wasmus was a Grove City evangelical minister who conducted services on Public Access Television back in 1994.
“He referred to himself as God’s prophet in the land of the last days,” says former church member Dave Wexler. “His ministry was a miracle healing ministry.”
But Wexler later discovered Wasmus was using his ministry to connect with children who he molested and even raped.
Wexler and his wife first saw Bill Wasmus on television and started attending services at his church. Wexler says sometime later the minister claimed to have a prophesy that Wexler’s wife should leave him. She did and after the Wexler’s divorced she married Rev. Wasmus.
A few years later, as Wexler was dropping his children off at his ex-wife’s house when she asked him for a favor.
“My ex-wife came out and she asked me if I could help get into Billy’s secret briefcase,” Wexler said. “His briefcase of mysteries and secrets that he never wanted anyone to touch or look at.”
A woman from the church and her son were also at the Wasmus’ home when Wexler pulled the briefcase open. Inside, they found pornographic pictures and videotapes of children.
“Popped in that videotape and there he was with that boy, and at that point pandemonium broke loose,” Wexler said.
Wexler says Wasmus was raping the boy on the tape, and there was video evidence that other children had been abused.
Wexler turned the tapes over to Franklin County deputies who discovered evidence that Wasmus had been sexually abusing and videotaping children for more than five years. Wasmus was sentenced to up to 220 years in prison, but he will have a second parole hearing October 14, 2020.
“Five years ago, this four-member parole board was split 50/50 on whether or not to release [him],” Wexler said. “It was close and I think he is likely to be released if we don’t overwhelmingly protest this.”
He is asking people to email the Parole Board to oppose release for Wasmus.
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien says his office already contacted the Parole Board opposing parole.
“Someone may step back and say, ‘Well that’s a long time ago and perhaps he has reformed,'” O’Brien said. “But particularly involving minors with pedophiles, it’s a concern that the experts tell us there’s really no cure, and all you can do is prevent their access to children.”