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Minister and wife charged with molesting girls

A Harrison County minister and his wife have been arrested for the sexual abuse of two girls. The 49-year-old former county deputy and his wife, a 33-year-old ex-deputy clerk, were charged with child indecency for acts against an 11 and 14-year-old.

The stories of alleged sexual abuse began with the oldest girl’s revelation of sexual misconduct to a counselor at Texas State Technical College.

The 14-year-old named the reverend as the man who molested her, once in front of a friend. He allegedly showed the girl a naked picture of himself on a cellphone. Officials say the younger girl spoke to authorities of inappropriate touching incidents that involved both the husband and wife. The couple apparently told the younger child that they were performing breast exams.

No dates of the reported incidents of molestation were mentioned in the arrest warrant. Officials say the 11-year-old victim implied the abuse was continual and felt it was not unusual behavior.

More than a dozen law enforcement officials are involved in the case. County officials charged the couple after executing a search warrant of the couple’s home in Marshall and confiscating electronic devices.

The minister, reportedly the pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship Church, once served as a chaplain and officer for the Marshall Police Department. The accused religious leader once was honored with a state "Hero for Children" award for his volunteer service with children, including work for the Girl and Boy Scouts of America.

Harrison County officials fired the couple when the abuse allegations surfaced.

The minister and his wife are now free on $200,000 and $100,000 bond, respectively.

Source: news-journal.com, "Warrants charge Harrison County couple with sexual abuse," Robyn Claridy, Oct. 6, 2011

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