|Minister Accused of Sex Abuse
By Ray King
Pine Bluff Commercial
January 17, 2009
A Pine Bluff pastor accused of improperly touching a female member of his congregation will have to post a $2,500 bond to be released from the county detention center while prosecutors consider felony charges against him.
At a court hearing Friday, Circuit Judge Jodi Dennis set the bond after ruling prosecutors had probable cause to charge Leroy Spears Jr., 56, with second-degree sexual assault.
Reading from an affidavit from police Detective Michael Roberts, Deputy Prosecutor Cymber Gieringer said police were sent to a Pine Bluff home on Jan. 10 in response to a reported sexual assault.
Gieringer said a 17-year-old girl told officers she was at Union Baptist Church on Dec. 30 when Spears called her into his study, locked the door, and tried to kiss her.
The girl also reported that Spears “grabbed her breast and tried to put his hand down her pants,” Gieringer quoted the affidavit as saying.
A police report on the incident indicated the girl said she was able to send a text message to a friend, telling her to come to the room, and Spears then walked away and unlocked the door.
Gieringer said police also reported that the girl said her mother called Spears on Jan. 2, and he came to their house where he admitted the incident and apologized.
She said after Spears was arrested, he waived his right to an attorney and “admitted touching the girl,” adding that “two other incidents involving Spears are still under investigation by police.”
The girl also told police she didn’t initially report the matter “because she didn’t want to be associated with that type of incident,” Gieringer quoted the affidavit as saying.
As a condition of the bond, which was agreed upon by Gieringer and Pine Bluff attorney Althea Hadden of the Warren Law Firm who was in court with Spears, Dennis ordered him to have no contact with the alleged victim until the case is settled. Dennis was sitting in Friday for Circuit Judge Rob Wyatt Jr.
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