New Albany Pastor Accused of Lying to Police, Harassment

By Matt Thacker
News and Tribune

December 19, 2008

A longtime pastor of a New Albany church is facing several misdemeanor charges on allegations that he harassed a woman with whom he had a child. He also is accused of lying to police and then displaying a gun.

The Rev. William D. Hodge Jr. was arrested on a Clark County warrant by the Indiana State Police at 10 p.m. Dec. 12 at his home along the 6600 block of Hickory Trace in Georgetown. The 75-year-old Hodge was taken to the Harrison County Jail awaiting extradition, ISP Sgt. Jerry Goodin said.

Cell phone records provided to ISP showed three “annoyance calls” were placed from Hodge’s phone to the woman’s residence since July 25, when Hodge filed for a restraining order against the woman, according to a probable-cause affidavit filed in Clark County Superior Court No. 3. In fact, he allegedly called her the same day he asked for the restraining order.

The victim, who is from Clark County, said she would repeatedly say “hello,” and the suspect would not make a sound. The third phone call reportedly lasted more than four minutes without the suspect speaking.

Hodge and the woman have a 4-year-old child together, according to court records.

The affidavit states that Hodge repeatedly denied making the calls when speaking to a detective. Once confronted with phone records, Hodge reportedly began looking through his day planner, and then said he called her because he thought he saw her near his residence.

As an Indiana State Police detective began to leave, Hodge allegedly reached into his pocket and pulled out a small caliber handgun. He also reportedly said the police should let the woman know that he is armed. In his report, the detective recommended that an additional charge of intimidation be added.

He is charged with three counts of harassment and one count of false informing, all class B misdemeanors. He has been released on $2,500 court-cash bond.

“I won’t [comment] at this time for fear that it could jeopardize the case,” Hodge told a reporter from The Evening News. “We’ll have a trial, and the details will come out then.”

Hodge said he has been pastor of Howard Chapel Baptist Church for 35 years and has no plans to resign. He said it will be the church’s decision whether he remains pastor there.



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