Stepdaughter of Shield Ministries director fights against his sex offender rehab plans
Stepdaughter of Shield Ministries director fights against his sex offender rehab plans. (WCIV)

Walterboro residents are coming together to keep registered sex offenders out of their neighborhood.

Shield Ministries, a nonprofit organization, is planning to open their third treatment center at a vacant church campus in Walterboro.

Read More: Walterboro residents concerned by plans for halfway house with sex offenders

In Shield Ministries' 2021 annual report, 70 percent of their applicants are registered as sex offenders.

Neighbors say that has them worried for their children.

"When parents can't let their children go out to their yard and play because of fear, what quality of life is that?" asked Kevin Lyles, a resident who lives nearby.

Stepdaughter of Shield Ministries director fights against his sex offender rehab plans. (WCIV)

Executive Director of Shield Ministries David Truluck is also a registered sex offender.

His stepdaughter joining the fight to stop his ministry.

"David is my abuser. I am Melody Truluck's daughter and he is my stepfather. I actually know how these people are, and the second Melody found out about the abuse she immediately blamed me for everything," Meagan Bishop said at the meeting.

Bishop said her stepfather molested her when she was 11-years-old.

Read More: Supreme Court rules South Carolina's lifelong sex offender registry unconstitutional

She said when the news came out, her mother immediately gave up custody of all three of children to stay with David.

"If she didn’t care about her own children at that time, does this community really think she will care about other peoples' children and protecting them from him or the pedophiles that are coming straight from prison? It’s like their first stop," Bishop said.

She said David spent two days in jail and then was put on probation, something she refers to as a slap on the wrist.

Bishop said this is not a personal vendetta, instead it is to protect others from her abuser.

Read More: SC Gov. issues crackdown on bail bondsmen, cites 'revolving door' repeat offenders

"I never thought I’d have to face these people again or see them or have anything to do with them, but if I could share my story and warn these people that its going to directly affect about how much of a sham this ministry really is, then I can feel like I have done something right," Bishop said.

When asked about his arrest, Truluck said:

"We do want to work with the community and engage the community to ensure that all concerns are addressed and that we are providing a safe environment for the community.”

Truluck said Shield Ministries is willing to listen to the community.

Read More: Walterboro man sentenced to 25 years in prison for sexual assault of 12-year-old girl

But neighbors like Lyles aren’t so sure.

"When you have a pedophile leading pedophiles it puts a really bad taste in your mouth. If you save 100 or 1000 peoples lives and it’s at the expense of one child, is the risk worth the reward?" Lyles asked.

The community’s next plan of action is to create a petition to take to Colleton County Council.

There is no word yet on which council meeting they plan to attend.

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