Pastor ordered to stay behind bars in child sex abuse case

Pastor ordered to stay behind bars in child sex abuse case

By Arelis R. Hernández, Orlando Sentinel

7:44 p.m. EST, August 22, 2012

From the link:

A judge has ordered that the former pastor of a Chuluota church remain behind bars after being accused of sexually molesting a child for several years.

David Rutherford Downs, 54, of Chuluota was arrested last month after allegations emerged that he had had inappropriate contact with a child under the age of 12. He is charged with two counts of sexual battery, a capital offense.

During a bond hearing Wednesday, defense attorney Tad Yates questioned the credibility of Downs’ alleged victim and argued that his client should be set free because he poses no danger.

Downs, who founded and led Cornerstone Baptist Church in Chuluota for more than 20 years, encouraged church leaders to remove him as senior pastor and report the allegations, Yates said.

Yates argued that no one has corroborated the victim’s story and that the child likely fabricated the allegations in retaliation for discipline Downs had imposed.

Nevertheless, his client submitted to authorities willingly when faced with the charges, Yates said.

But Orange County Judge Marc Lubet said the victim’s explicit testimony regarding the details of the alleged abuse was enough to deny Downs bail.

Sheriff’s Office Det. Melissa Harrielson testified that the victim was isolated from other children and led alone into Downs’ bedroom on several occasions.

The Department of Children and Families had also investigated reports of physical and sexual abuse. They confirm the child had been spanked severely in 2011 but the molestation case was closed due to lack of evidence.

When Harrielson investigated further, the child’s family refused to cooperate and retained lawyers, she said.

Lubet said he thought it was unusual that no one — including his own family — came to Downs’ defense and instead had “clammed up.”

Downs’ friend Kyle Henderson said outside the courtroom that when he visited the former pastor in jail, Downs denied the abuse.

“I believe he is being treated unfairly,” Henderson said. “I just know he’s done a lot of good things for our community and for church members. It was a surprise to everyone.”


About victimsofrapebythercc

The Catechism offers a clear moral teaching: "Rape is the forcible violation of the sexual intimacy of another person. It does injury to justice and charity. Rape deeply wounds the respect, freedom, and physical and moral integrity to which every person has a right. It causes grave damage that can mark the victim for life. It is always an intrinsically evil act. Graver still is the rape of children committed by parents (incest) or those responsible for the education of the children entrusted to them." (no. 2356) Note that rape is "an intrinsically evil act," meaning that it is evil at its very root, nothing justifies it, and it is objectively a mortal sin. An evil act was done against me, a crime, by a priest at St Thomas More Parish in Durham, NH. An evil and a crime I will no longer keep silent about. Those who perpetrate crimes against children, especially those of the Roman Catholic Church, should all be punished for their crimes against children. Anything less would be criminal.

Posted on August 23, 2012, in Religion and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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