Traveling Evangelist Indicted for Child Sexual Abuse 

Perpetrator faced similar charges of aggravated rape against children in 2023 but was reindicted in March with additional charges

Daniel Ritchie April 18, 2024

An evangelist based out of Tennessee, who had already been arrested on multiple charges related to sexual abuse of children, has been indicted again by a grand jury.

Benjamin Garlick / Photo via GoFundMe page

Benjamin Garlick, 32, was arrested in September 2023 after being charged with several counts of aggravated rape and sexual battery. Murfreesboro Police have now said he was reindicted by a Rutherford County Grand Jury in March and now faces additional charges.

The list of charges against him include seven counts of aggravated rape of a child, six counts of aggravated sexual battery, two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and two counts of violation of the child protection act.

His wife Shaantal Garlick, 30, was also arrested in September alongside her husband. She has also been reindicted and is facing more charges, including two counts of facilitation of aggravated rape of a child and two counts of aggravated child neglect.

She made bond last year and was rearrested in March after being served with the new indictment. However, as of Friday, April 12, authorities said Shaantal Garlick was released after posting another $75,000 bond.

One month before their first arrest, Shaantal Garlick filed for an order of protection against her husband, according to a news report. This past month on March 19, 2024, she filed for a divorce. That court case remains open at this time.

Just before the start of 2023, a GoFundMe page was started to raise $40,000 for a new van for the couple. The effort was spearheaded by Benjamin Garlick, according to information found on the fundraising page, which said they needed the van due to the growth of their family.

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The page also indicated the family had already purchased the van, but needed to pay it off within 60-days due to “…special financing with no interest.” The GoFundMe stated, “That’s as few as forty churches each giving one thousand, or eighty giving 500.”

Investigators say Garlick spent the past several years as a traveling minister, focusing primarily on the Hispanic community. He and his wife traveled across the country, according to Murfreesboro detectives.

The full number of victims, how the couple knew them, or when the alleged rapes occurred is still unclear. Special Victims Unit detectives are urging anyone, particularly those in the Hispanic community, with information to come forward.

Benjamin Garlick remains in the Rutherford County Adult Detention Center on a $825,000 bond.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Why does MinistryWatch report on sex crimes? These stories are tough to read and sometimes even tougher to report, but we think they are vital to our mission to bring transparency, accountability, and credibility to the evangelical church. To read more about why and how we report these stories, read “Why MinistryWatch Reports On Sex Crimes.” You can find that story here.

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