The accused son also is a U.S. Capitol police officer who was placed on “non-duty status” as soon as the agency learned of the charges, according to a spokeswoman for the department.
The alleged abuse occurred between 2001 and 2008 but the then-teens, who are now adults, recently reported the encounters to investigators, police said.
“These kids were vulnerable already and looking to better themselves,” Prince George’s Police Major Tony Schartner said Wednesday. “There was this program which they and their parents thought would help them, and they fell victim to these three individuals.”
The three have been charged with child abuse and related sex offenses: Joshua William Wright, 67, of Brandywine; Donald Jackson, 40, of White Plains and William Joshua Wright III, 46, of White Plains.
Joshua Wright was the church’s head pastor, and his son, William Wright — the Capitol Police officer — was a church minister, police said. Jackson is Joshua Wright’s son-in-law and a leading church member, police said.
One victim said she was abused while living at Joshua Wright’s home when she was a teenager, according to police charging documents. She also said she was abused while she was being taken to and from church, charging documents state. Another woman said Joshua Wright sexually assaulted her when she should have been attending educational classes at the church in Fort Washington and took her to various parks to sexually abuse her, charging documents said.
“Defendant would remove her from class to place her in his office under the ruse of having her engage in one-on-one counseling sessions,” charging documents said.
One of the victims living with Jackson said she was abused in his home for three years starting in October 2003 when she was 15, charging documents said.
A woman, who was 17 at the time, said William Wright abused her when she was living in his home between December 2006 and 2008, according to charging documents.
Schartner said police are investigating how many children participated in the program and encouraged others who were abused to tell authorities.
“What’s alarming is that four girls came forward at the same time in early 2018 and all four of their disclosures were very similar,” Schartner said, who also said William Wright and Jackson confessed to police.
The program stopped runningin 2011, Schartner said.
A judge ordered Joshua and William Wright jailed on a $75,000 bond, and Jackson is awaiting bail review set for Thursday, said John Erzen, a spokesman for the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office.
The Wrights and Jackson could not be immediately reached for comment, and online court records did not list attorneys for the men.