|Updated: 4/27/2009 7:02 pm
||Published: 4/24/2009 9:50 pm
A long time church music minister in Benton could face additional sexual indecency charges.
The Saline County Sheriff tells FOX16 News the investigation into allegations against David Pierce continue.
Pierce had his first court hearing Monday morning. He was still in jail at the 5Pm News but it is possible for him to make bond.
But he can not make the allegations go away. In fact, the investigation is expanding.
56-year old David Pierce appeared in court via closed circuit TV.
A brief hearing before district judge Mike Robinson, Pierce didn't say much when the judge set his bond and ordered him to stay away from minors.
"That means your bond will be set at $25,000 and you'll sign a no contact order, do you have any problem with that?" Robinson said.
Pierce responded "no sir."
"When you know people it just makes it difficult," Saline County Sheriff Bruce Pennington said. Pennington knows Pierce. Both attend First Baptist Church in Benton. Pierce worked as a music teacher there for 29 years. He was fired Friday after allegations surfaced he had sexual contact with a teenage boy.
Pastor Rick Grant issued a statement Monday afternoon saying:
"During my 20 plus years in the ministry here, this is the most difficult thing I've had to deal with by far."
And the sheriff tells us it's not over yet. Goins says: "is there a sense there could potentially be additional victims?" Pennington says: "yes, there's a possibility there could be."
Pennington says the investigator on the case still has a lot of work to do. "She's interviewing people daily," Pennington says. "She has done that this weekend, she has some setup today as well as tomorrow," Pennington said.
Meaning investigators still don't have a complete picture of the allegations against the church music teacher.
Before Friday, the sheriff said, personally, Pierce had the appearance of being a real great man.
Professionally, the sheriff says the case isn't closed until they've talked to everyone they need to.
Music pastor accused of sex crime
Friday night, the Saline County sheriff announced the arrest of a church music pastor who now faces one charge of sexual indecency with a child.
David Pierce is locked up after what the sheriff calls an outcry from the youth of the church. The sheriff is part of the 22-hundred member congregation at First Baptist in Benton, so when he arrested Pierce Friday afternoon, it was personal. "You know, anytime something like this happens, because I'm a father and a grandparent, it touches home," says Sheriff Bruce Pennington.
The Saline County Sheriff's Department launched its investigation into sex crime allegations against music pastor David Pierce early this week after a teenage boy came forward. "I just want people to be aware that regardless of your stature in this community, we're not going to condone these actions and everyone has to be treated equally," says the sheriff.
Deputies have locked Pierce's office and will get a search warrant to check it out at some point as they continue the investigation.
For now the congregation is coping with the accusations. "I know our church is a strong church and its time to pull together," says Pennington.
Right now, Pierce is in the Saline County Jail. He'll be in court Monday morning.
Statement from Dr. Rick Grant, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Benton,
This is a very sad day for me, for First Baptist Church, its staff, and the congregation. It’s also a sad day for the Pierce family.
I don’t have a lot to share with you at this point. We are trying to digest all of this. I can tell you that David Pierce was the minister of music at First Baptist Church of Benton for 29 years and was terminated. I can tell you that we, as a church, have cooperated with the appropriate authorities.
I can also tell you that I’m personally heartsick over all of this. Our church is in mourning. I ask you to pray for everyone involved.