A senior official at a non-denominational Christian church in Gainesville has been sentenced to jail and ordered to pay for counseling for a fellow church member after assaulting her, according to police.
Daniel Sahmel, 39, the former director of service programming for Anthem Church, is scheduled to be back in court April 10 to promise he will pay for counseling for the victim, who – in her first interview since the attack – said she was abandoned by the church spiritually and financially during the ordeal.
The police report says Sahmel sexually assaulted the woman in her home after she texted him she wasn’t feeling well. He then forced himself onto her while she was having a seizure. When questioned about his actions that evening, the police report says Sahmel lied to the officers about his whereabouts and denied entering the woman’s house.
The victim reported to police that she did not consent or want any physical contact and attempted to escape Sahmel. She could not escape and told Sahmel to stop, but he refused, according to the police report. Sahmel told her, “I want to f*** your brains out, and I know you do too.” She replied to Sahmel, “No, I don’t!”
Since the incident, the woman has left the church.
Jason Lee, the lead pastor of the church says the church is praying for all.
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Gainesville Police Department officers arrested Daniel Sahmel, 39, Wednesday night. Police say Sahmel went to the victim’s home while she was on medical marijuana and prescription medication on Sept. 2. The victim suffers from chronic seizures.
He demanded to be let into the home. Sahmel carried the victim to her bed while she was having a seizure and sexually battered her.
The victim told him ‘no’ and tried to get away. After the assault, Sahmel told the woman he would help her at church and that she ‘better not hurt him.’