A former Douglas County minister was sentenced Friday to two years on probation, resolving accusations that he forced inappropriate contact on a staff member of his church and school.
Rev. Bill Wininger was accused of “grabbing and hugging” one woman at the The King’s Way Baptist Church and King’s Way Christian School, one of the oldest Christian academies in Georgia. He also was accused of “physical contact of an insulting and provoking nature” when he pressed against her with an inappropriate part of his body.
Wininger pleaded no contest to two counts of simple battery.
“This plea brings justice for this victim and hopefully gives her some closure to a horrible series of events that happened in her life,” Douglas County Solicitor General Matthew Krull said in an emailed statement. “The victim gave a voice to all those that have been too afraid to stand up to defendant’s unacceptable behavior. This case was very troubling, to see … a preacher in a position of trust and power, use that position for his own selfish needs.”
Wininger was arrested in August 2014 on charges targeting behavior that allegedly occurred between August 2012 and February 2013. Two of the original four charges were dropped as part of Friday’s plea bargain.
As part of his probation, Wininger was ordered to perform 200 hours of community service at a location that does not assist women or children.
Wininger resigned in 2013 after 15 years at the church.
King’s Way Baptist Church has a congregation of about 1,000 and there are about 350 students enrolled in its school, which offers classes for students from pre-K through 12th grade.