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Saturday, November 25, 2006                                                                                       View Comments

Pastor arrested for sexual assaults

DAYTON OHIO — Riverside police arrested Pastor Dennis Bowling early Tuesday after a group of women associated with the Kingdom Harvest Church at 2360 Valley Pike told police Bowling had sexually assaulted female members of the congregation over a 10-year period.

Police met with the women Monday night and gathered physical evidence at the church, said Riverside police Sgt. David A. Crigler. "There were 12 victims there (Monday) night and they alleged either improper contact or rape," Crigler said.

The ages of the alleged victims ranged from 10 to adulthood, Crigler said. Bowling, 45, has been pastor at the church for 19 years, according to Crigler.

After the meeting, Riverside police and Miami County sheriff's deputies arrested Bowling at a relative's home in northern Miami County. He was taken to the Montgomery County Jail, where he is being held on one count of rape as police continue their investigation.

Crigler said he will meet with Montgomery County prosecutors Wednesday morning to discuss formal charges.

Most of the alleged assaults occurred at the church or in Montgomery County. Others, however, occurred in other parts of Ohio and as far away as Haiti, Crigler said.

Crigler did not discuss how the assaults were carried out or what motivated the women to come forward with their allegations.

The most recent assault allegedly occurred two weeks ago, Crigler said.

The Kingdom Harvest Church is a brick structure with a residence attached. Bowling, who is married with children, lives in Huber Heights, Crigler said. Huber Heights police are assisting in the investigation.

A person who answered the phone at the church Tuesday afternoon declined comment, but said services are still scheduled for Sunday.

The church also is the site of the Christian Training Center, a private school for grades 2 through 12 that has 27 students and one teacher, according to the Ohio Department of Education.


Update, Dec 1:

Pastor indicted on 11 counts of battery
The accusation of sex with a 15-year-old may be followed with other charges, officials say.

DAYTON — A Montgomery County grand jury on Wednesday indicted a Riverside pastor on 11 counts of sexual battery and a prosecutor said more charges "are expected."

Dennis Bowling, 45, remained in the county jail in lieu of $2 million bail as prosecutors arranged for more witnesses to appear before a grand jury.

Bowling, pastor of Kingdom Harvest Church, 2360 Valley Pike, for 19 years was arrested last week after a group of women from the congregation told police he had sexually assaulted several female members of the church.

Prosecutor Mathias H. Heck Jr. said eight counts were approved on Nov. 22 that involved Bowling and a 15-year-old girl during September.

The 11 counts handed up Wednesday each charge an offense that happened during the three-month period after Sept. 1. However, they do not indicate if they stem from assaults on one child or more.

Mary Montgomery, head of Heck's child abuse bureau, said, "the indictment reflects counts involving at least one victim, but more counts are expected."

Each charge is a third-degree felony and carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.