A worship and church youth group leader in Wyoming is facing a felony charge in Florida after a young girl told her mother he inappropriately touched her while he was in the state.

Richard Shaw, 69, was arrested by the Riverton Police Department in Wyoming on a warrant out of Polk County, Florida, for lewd molestation, which is a first-degree felony, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Shaw allegedly touched the girl, who is younger than 12, during a visit to Lakeland, Florida, in December 2023. He was back in Wyoming when the girl told her mother Shaw allegedly touched her underneath and over the top of her clothing, according to the PCSO.

The mother called and spoke to Shaw, who allegedly admitted to touching the girl, the sheriff’s office said.

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Richard Shaw, 69, was charged with lewd molestation by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. (Polk County Sheriff’s Office)

Shaw was a worship leader at “Under Command Ministries” in Freemont County, Wyoming, and also worked in the youth ministry area of the church. 

“PCSO detectives notified the Freemont County Sheriff’s Office, who will conduct their own investigation to determine if Shaw has victimized any children there with whom he is in contact,” the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. “PCSO detectives learned that Shaw works at or is affiliated with other churches in the area, and further investigation by Wyoming authorities is ongoing.”

During an interview with Polk County detectives, Shaw allegedly told them he was addicted to pornography and he “gave in to temptation” when he touched the child in Lakeland. He also allegedly told detectives he should not be trusted around children.

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Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd described Richard Shaw, 69, as an “evil person” and “dangerous.” (Polk County Sheriff’s Office)

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd announced Shaw’s arrest during a news conference on Wednesday where he also announced two separate arrests for sex crimes against children in the county.

“We are working with Wyoming law enforcement to determine if this suspect victimized any other children there – we sincerely hope not. This man should never be allowed to have access to children again,” Judd said. He also described Shaw as an “evil person” and “dangerous.”

Judd said police will not be revealing where Judd allegedly touched the child because it could reveal her identity.

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Shaw was booked into the Freemont County Jail after his arrest on Jan. 4. He will be extradited to Polk County at a later date.



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