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Texas College Pastor, Who Abused Child for 7 Years, Avoids Jail Time in Plea Deal

By Josh Shepherd
will robinson plea deal
On Mar. 22, 2024, William C. Robinson pleaded guilty to five felony charges related to child sex abuse. (Photo: Nueces County Sheriff's Office)

A Texas college pastor who sexually abused an underage family member for 7 years will not serve any jail time due to a recent plea agreement. The pastor, William C. Robinson, led a chapter of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries and was mentored by sex offender Daniel Savala, the central figure in a widening sex abuse scandal

On March 22, Robinson, 47, appeared at a district court hearing in Nueces County, Texas, and accepted a plea deal. That deal, approved by District Judge David Stith, deferred Robinson’s sentence for five felony charges related to child sex abuse and gave him 10 years of probation and 120 hours of community service instead.

According to court records, Robinson pleaded guilty to one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14, one count of sexual assault of a child, and three counts of indecency with a child. 

“The offender in this case, by his own (admission) and by his acts, gives cause for concern for the child’s safety as well as others, which warrants his apprehension,” stated the 2022 arrest affidavit for Robinson, as reported by local NBC affiliate KRIS News. Police are not aware of additional victims, according to a previous report

In the indictment reported by KRIS News, Robinson admitted to sexually abusing an underage family member from July 2015, when the girl was nine years old, until June 2022, when Robinson was arrested.

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The terms of Robinson’s probation include no contact with his victim, an evening curfew, monitored internet access, and required parenting classes. If he adheres to the terms, Robinson will be able to apply to have his criminal record expunged. 

For two decades, starting in 2002, Robinson served as the founding leader and pastor of the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMUCC) chapter of Chi Alpha, the college outreach ministry of the Assemblies of God (AG). 

According to multiple sources, Robinson is among several Chi Alpha leaders in south-central Texas who connected college students with Savala, a registered sex offender since 2012.

savala
On June 2, 2023, Daniel Savala was arrested at his Houston residence on child sex abuse charges. (Photo Courtesy: U.S. Marshals Task Force)

Savala allegedly abused and raped dozens of college students and minors, as previously reported by The Roys Report (TRR), including multiple victims who filed lawsuits in recent weeks. Last June, Savala was arrested on child sex abuse charges and his criminal case is ongoing in Harris County, Texas.

Keenan Laymon, a former student in the TAMUCC chapter of Chi Alpha, told TRR that Robinson introduced him to Savala when Laymon was a freshman, in 2016.

“There was a lot of mystery and aura around Daniel Savala and what he preached,” Laymon told TRR. “Will (Robinson) presented it as a huge blessing to get to glean from Daniel.” 

Robinson was ordained in May 2017 by AG South Texas District Superintendent Tim Barker. 

will robinson ordination tim barker
On May 18, 2017, Pastor William Robinson and his wife, Jennifer (left), receive a Bible and ministerial credentials from Assemblies of God South Texas District Superintendent Tim Barker and his wife, Jill (right), in an ordination ceremony in San Antonio, Texas. (Video screengrab)

In a statement to TRR, the AG national press office confirmed that Robinson has not held credentials in the denomination since 2022. 

For several years, Robinson was also an elder at Trinity Worship Center in Corpus Christi, as referenced in his ordination ceremony in 2017. 

“We continue to be deeply committed to all those affected by the offenses and legal outcomes of Will Robinson’s failures,” Reverend Jeffry Fox, current pastor of Trinity, told TRR

Robinson sent college students to Savala’s home

Since last year, multiple reports and criminal indictments have revealed how Savala was welcomed as a mentor by at least a dozen Chi Alpha chapters in south-central Texas.

Laymon told TRR that “perverted teachings about nudity and masturbation” were interwoven within Chi Alpha teachings in that region.

Serving with Will Robinson at that time was Chris Hundl, who has since been indicted on child sex abuse charges. Hundl began his tenure with Chi Alpha in 2004, under Robinson at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMUCC).

The perverted teachings “trickled down from Daniel Savala to Will (Robinson) and Chris (Hundl), ideas that were taught in order to groom college kids,” Laymon said.

hundl savala chi alpha baylor
Longtime Chi Alpha mentor Daniel Savala (right) and former Baylor University campus minister Chris Hundl have been indicted by a grand jury of the 16th Judicial District Court in Waco, Texas. (Photos: McLennan County Sheriff’s Office)

Laymon added that Robinson once suggested Laymon spend the night at Savala’s home, which included a sauna. Laymon recalls the interaction with Savala was “really, really weird.”

“He got in the sauna naked and pressured me to, which I did,” said Laymon. “Then he talked about spiritual submission for 30 minutes, even asking me if I’m a ‘good soldier.’ It creeped me out. I’m thinking, ‘Man, something is off—but this is Daniel, the spiritual guru.’” 

Laymon told TRR that Savala did not abuse him during his overnight stay. 

That fall, Laymon reported the grooming incident to Robinson.

“The script got flipped on me,” said Laymon. “I ended up having to repent to Will about not submitting to spiritual authority.” 

The Christian college group continued to send small groups of students to Savala’s Houston home on “mission trips.” Laymon recounted another time when Hundl and several Chi Alpha small group leaders visited Savala and stripped together.

TRR contacted the Chi Alpha chapter at TAMUCC but did not receive a response. 

TAMUCC robinson
Social post from Chi Alpha TAMUCC page, dated Mar. 12, 2021. (Screengrab)

‘There is no justice here’

Abuse survivor advocates have expressed outrage at the sentence Robinson has received.

Ron Bloomingkemper Jr., who founded online forum XA & The Lions Den to expose Savala’s conduct and support survivors, said, “There is no justice here. Those in positions of authority who are supposed to protect people have actually preyed upon them.” 

Similarly, Monica Roeger, a moderator at that forum, said, “Sexual abuse is a life sentence of overcoming trauma. It’s hard not to imagine Lady Justice using her blindfold to wipe tears away at this moment.” 

She noted that Savala only served 90 days in jail for his first conviction, which did not deter him. “Robinson was one of Daniel’s close protégés,” she added. “There is nothing to indicate that Robinson won’t continue to prey on young innocent people in the same ways that Daniel did.” 

daniel savala
For decades, Daniel Savala was a volunteer teacher and mentor with Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, the official college ministry of the AG. (Image: XA & The Lions Den)

Laymon said Savala’s influence remains in Chi Alpha chapters across Texas and surrounding states, and all the Chi Alpha leaders there need to be removed.

“So many people within Chi Alpha leadership grew up there, have never left, and never had another job,” Laymon said. “Everything that they’ve been taught has included these perverted teachings of Daniel Savala.”  

In November, Chi Alpha National Director E. Scott Martin resigned. Recently, two Savala protégés lost their AG ministerial credentials: Eli Stewart, former North Texas leader of Chi Alpha; and Eli Gautreaux, South Texas leader. 

tim barker chi alpha
Tim Barker (Video screengrab)

Regional AG leadership, notably South Texas AG Superintendent Tim Barker, has been silent. 

An email published online from Barker, dated May 17, 2023, claimed that the district had hired a law firm to “independently investigate” the claims against Savala. Eleven months later, no findings or summary of that investigation have been released.

TRR has reached out repeatedly to the South Texas AG District Office since last May, including for this story, but has never received a response.

Freelance journalist Josh Shepherd writes on faith, culture, and public policy for several media outlets. He and his family live in the Washington, D.C. area.

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25 Responses

  1. He really needs to be attached to a millstone and dumped into the nearest large body of water.

  2. 🥲. This is so tragic. The child will suffer for her entire life. The sentence does not fit the crime.

  3. So much for justice in Texas – a hot bed of magat-y fascist Trump lovers

    I hope there will be an appeal resulting in this appalling human garbage going down for a LONG time –

    The days of sleazy grace ARE OVER!

    1. These days were always over. It says so categorically in Jude 1:4.
      Everyone believing in a “sinning gospel” (an oxymoron because drinking poison and holding hands with Satan is not good news) is under a delusion.

      What part of “(Jesus) came to DESTROY the works of the devil” (1st John 3:8, Acts 26:18) do they not understand??
      Or is it WILFULL blindness?

      The idea that God sent His son into the world to make people worse-behaved than ever before is a despicable, blasphemous lie and anyone who doesn’t know that has either never read the New Testament or has only memorized one or two passages OUT OF CONTEXT and ignored what’s on almost every page, from Matthew to Revelation.
      They might begin with Matthew 1:21 and finish with Revelation 22:11-15

  4. Most of this article is a rehash of the Daniel Savala scandal, although Robinson’s relationship with Savala is relevant. Back to the initial subject of the article, I suspect the case wasn’t strong enough to take to trial without risk of a not-guilty verdict. Or the victim wasn’t willing to testify. Robinson’s lawyer cleverly managed to cut a deal that allows for later expungement. It appears he will have to register as a sex offender for 10 years, so hopefully, that will keep him away from any future potential victims. While the deal looks a little weak, it might be the best the DA could do. If Robinson stumbles, it’s off to prison.

  5. I KNOW ALL CAPS IS LIKE SHOUTING. I HAVE BEEN IN MINISTRY FOR 35 YEARS AND I KNOW ALL SIN AND FALL SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD, BUT THIS IS FREAKING INSANE

    1. Well you need to read that over cited verse (Romans 3:23) properly and see that it’s the PAST TENSE (in Greek and English).

      “For all *have* sinned…”

      And I would love to see more pastors quoting Romans 6, John 8:34-36, 1st John chapters 3 thru 5, 1 Corinthians 15:34, John 5:14 & 8:11 and 2 Timothy 2:19b (among others).

      Why don’t they quote these verses so readily?

      If they did, we might not have to put up with hearing about these abominations (which ALWAYS begin, just as hard drug use does) with “lesser” sins being enabled and too easily excused…

  6. Not trying to be political here but I agree with Pres. Trump that pedos, murderers and drug dealers should be executed. Evil that dangerous, perverted and severe warrants the death penalty.

    1. Rather ironic, since Texas is a hotbed of MAGA worshipping Trump cultists. But I guess what Trump really means is that execution should only apply to the pedo dems at the pizza restaurant. Not the abusers in the Evangelical church, who look up to Donald “Grab Em…” Trump) as their role model.

    2. Dee:

      Why didn’t TFG include adulterers be executed? They destroy families. Also would Jesus want these “people” to be executed?
      Also was Jesus for the death penalty?

    3. How about rape? Trump has been convicted for rape in a courthouse in this country. Never voted blue but I got to say that this man has the worst character I have ever seen in a candidate and I have been of voting age for more decades then I care to mention.

      1. Yes, indeed. Raised in a pastor’s home, the implication was that real Christians vote Red. But I kept seeing behaviors–overwhelmingly by GOP politicians and clergy–that denigrated far too many people, let abusers get away with their crimes, tilted racist, diminished women and girls, and gave a pass to bad behavior in dominant white males. I finally left the GOP and have never turned back. Now proud to champion basic human decency as a higher morality than my faith ever provided, I would rather vote Blue than ever support the former president; demonstrably a constant bully, a sexual abuser, a liar, cruel–and is known to have cheated on his pregnant wife. It is always the right time to do the right thing.

  7. Justice deferred is justice denied.
    Is his wife and the mother of the abused child still with this pedophile?
    How can the Judge and a District Attorney walk their streets in public after excusing this behavior? Breathtaking!

  8. If he committed these crimes in my state – Arizona – he’d have received a life sentence, as crimes against minors here automatically receive consecutive sentences and probation/suspended sentences aren’t available for crimes against children.

  9. I tend to think that the prosecutors were hesitant to bring this case to trial because they would need the child to testify and that would put him and his family through more horror and pain. At the same time, I don’t understand why they would agree to such a lenient plea deal, especially having his record expunged after ten years. Stuff like this sends a message to predators that it is pretty much still open season. He needs to be jailed.

    1. Oh, I understand perfectly:
      The CHRISTIAN State of Texas with its CHRISTIAN Courts and CHRISTIAN Judges.

  10. This shocking leniency smacks of Masonic good ole boy network favoritism. Someone called in favor from one brother to another.

  11. This is infuriating, but what went on here is that the defendant made a motion for a continuance, and that motion was unopposed. So either the prosecutor didn’t ask the family/accuser their views on the matter, or the victim and her family did not oppose the continuance, possibly because bringing the case to trial and jail time would require putting the victim on the witness stand. This can happen pretty much in any state.

    I’m not sure how much better the prosecution could have done. Very often, these cases are he said/she said, and that’s a tough way to call for much jail time. Possibly there could have been other evidence to make things more emphatic, but the case documentation leaves that (IMO) open to interpretation.

    At the very least, he’s plead guilty to a felony sex crime, and that at least keeps him out of ministry for 10-17 years. There is that.

      1. Dunno. Said it was a family member he raped, and I think that even in fundagelical circles, that crosses a line. At the very least, anyone around any church or ministry that hires him can look up the court records and ask “what kind of blithering idiot are you to hire a guy with this record? Do you not know how bad this will look if your church/ministry is ever accused of anything, whether he’s involved or not?”

        Maybe I’m too hopeful. I hope not.

      2. CM: Only if a background check isn’t done. He should appear on sex offender lists shortly. He probably has some sort of restraining order barring him from contact with underage persons.

        1. The problem is how many times background checks aren’t done or the results hushed up. Also, if is successful in getting his record expunged, then even that goes away.

  12. Abused the victim until he was arrested?! Given a plea deal rather than prison time?! What a travesty. There are far too many victims who are never given the right to see their abuser held accountable for a crime the victim will never get over. Horrible decision. Statistics show that perpetrators often go on to abuse again, even when they claim some kind of spiritually felt repentence or forgiveness. Nonsense. For victims, the pain is never, never over.

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