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Saturday, June 20, 2009                                                                                       View Comments

Baptist ministers facing sex charges appear in court

LIBERTY, Mo. (ABP) -- Southern Baptist ministers in three states facing molestation charges had recent days in court.

Robert M. Black, 40, pastor of New Home Baptist Church near St. Joseph, Mo., pleaded not guilty June 18 to felony counts of first-degree statutory rape and attempted enticement of a child.

Black was arrested April 8 after allegedly soliciting sex over the Internet with a police officer posing as a 13-year-old girl. He is scheduled to stand trial Jan. 14.

A grand jury in Waco, Texas, indicted William Frank Brown, 45, June 17 on four counts of sexual assault of a child and four counts of indecency with a child.

Brown, who resigned as pastor of First Baptist Church in Bellmead, a 125-member Southern Baptist congregation founded in 1945, just before the investigation became public, stands accused of molesting two children in incidents that began about four years ago in another state.

According to media reports, one of the children, who was 9 or 10 at the time, told a school counselor about the abuse, which is alleged to have occurred hundreds of times with multiple victims.

A former longtime minister of music at First Baptist Church in Benton, Ark., did not enter a plea at a court hearing June 15, where his lawyer asked for more time to review evidence in the case.

David Pierce, 56, minister of music at the prominent Arkansas Baptist church for 29 years before his termination in late April, was arrested twice -- first on a single charge of sexual indecency and later on 53 additional counts involving four male teenagers active in the church's youth choir.

While all of the charges relate to incidents that occurred in the past three years, police believe Pierce may have acted inappropriately with youth as long ago as 15 years.

Baptist church sticking by pastor facing sex charges

Prominent Ark. music minister arrested for indecency with a minor