Minister Facing Sex Abuse Charges

March 14, 2009

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Video: Minister Facing Sex Abuse Charges

James Howard Bell was indicted on charges of sodomy, sexual abuse and wanton endangerment. He is now also facing a charge of distributing obscene matter to minors.

WLKY has obtained court documents that describe the details of the accusations.

"In a lot of cases, a lot of inmates don't take well to child molestation sometimes," said Shelby County Jailer Bobby Waits. "So for his safety as well as the safety of everyone else we feel in most cases this is what we need to do."

Waits said because of the nature of Bell's case, they have had to make special accommodations.

"He is in an isolation cell at this time per his request," Waits said.

Bell has been in the Shelby County Jail since December of last year. According to police, he turned himself in saying he had sexual relations with a 15-year-old boy.

"He apparently probably had thought at some point in time someone was going to come to us before he did," said Kentucky State Trooper Ronald Turley.

Bell was the pastor at the Refuge Temple Church of God in Christ in Shelbyville.

Those who knew him were shocked about the allegations. Court documents obtained by WLKY reveal new information about the case.

An affidavit for a search warrant of Bell's home shows he confessed to having sexual contact with the 15-year-old on four different occasions in an 18-month period.

The documents also say the alleged victim said the sexual contact happened at least four times.

The 15-year-old also said Bell showed him pornographic magazines and pornographic Internet material, part of what police were looking for when they searched Bell's home.

This month, a grand jury indicted Bell on seven counts, including sodomy, sexual abuse and distribution of obscene matter to minors.

Bell will be in Shelby County Circuit Court Monday morning for his arraignment.


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