Black Entertainment Television [New York, NY]
September 1, 2022
By Paul Meara
Officials charge that Keenan Hord had an extreme number of text messages from a group of boys and in a church youth ministry.
A former Arkansas youth minister was accused by authorities of having inappropriate sexual contact with up to 30 boys.
Prosecutors have charged Keenan Hord, 32, with several serious crimes involving the sexual abuse and exploitation of minors that were involved in the youth ministries he was connected to,, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports.
Two Bentonville, Ark.,detectives testified at a bond hearing on Friday (Aug. 27) that officials searched Hord’s home on Aug. 24 to seize electronic devices found there.
Police Sgt. Josh Woodhams testified that he examined a phone belonging to one of the boys that revealed a romantic and sexual relationship between Hord and the boy. As many as 5,000 conversations were on the phone between them, Woodhams said. He also noted that half a million text messages were on the phone and included contact with as many as 30 boys.
Bentonville detective James Boothman testified Hord’s wife later notified police her husband had left the residence and had not returned. He also said police had spoken to six victims and identified up to 30 possible victims with an examination of Hord’s cellphone.
Hord was arrested Aug. 24 in connection with sexual assault, possessing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child and sexual indecency with a minor. Prosecutors have not filed formal charges against him, according to the Democrat-Gazette.
Hord reportedly served on the staffs of at least two Southern Baptist churches, most recently First Baptist Bentonville. He had also worked for Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn.
First Baptist said in a statement Friday that the allegations came after Hord’s employment had ended, according to Baptist Press. It is unclear exactly when that took place.
“We have been devastated to learn that a former employee of our church has been credibly accused of abusing adolescents during his tenure at our church,” First Baptist Bentonville said in a statement to the publication. “While these accusations did not come to light until after his employment ended, when we learned of them we immediately contacted our local authorities, made a report to the Arkansas Child Abuse Hotline, and continue to fully support the ongoing law enforcement investigation.”
Benton County Circuit Judge Robin Green set Hord’s bond at $500,000 cash. He is expected to be arraigned on the charges on Oct. 3.