UDPATE: Former music minister pleads guilty

UDPATE: Former music minister pleads guilty

A former music minister plead guilty to four counts of sexual indecency with a minor.
An apology and a guilty plea from the former Benton music minister charged with sexual indecency with a minor. A judge sentenced David Pierce to ten years in prison. Prosecutors initially charged Pierce with 54 counts but dropped them to four.

Surrounded by family and friends David Pierce walked into a Saline County Courtroom a free man, he walked out in handcuffs and surrounded by deputies preparing to start a prison sentence after pleading guilty to sexual indecency with a minor. "He's got 20 years worth of sentences, some of them are running concurrently with each other so he is serving ten years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections," says Ken Casady Saline county Prosecuting Attorney.

Through his attorney Pierce issued an apology. "I express my most sincere apologies to every person affected by my actions. It was never my intentions to hurt anyone," Mark Hampton reads.

According to the affidavit Pierce had boys expose themselves to him for his own sexual gratification at his home and even at First Baptist Church where he served as music minister.

He faced 54 counts but the prosecutor allowed him to plead guilty to just four counts. While the prosecutor claims Pierce's actions involved many victims over nearly two decades, the statute of limitations ran out on some of the cases. "I can tell you that the victims in this case across the board from young men to people that are in their 30's are still dealing with psychological issues," Casady said.

Saline County Sheriff Bruce Pennington is glad to see this case resolved. It's been especially difficult for him; Pennington is a member of First Baptist Church and knows Pierce. He's glad to see Pierce showing remorse. "He's apologetic not only to the church but to the victims and his family and as he stated there has to be forgiveness we can't be bitter," Pennington said.

The pastor of First Baptist Church also issued a statement Thursday expressing sadness over what's happened and asking for continued prayers as the victims and the congregation move on from this.

The counts Pierce pleaded guilty to include three boys. While in jail Pierce is required to complete a sex offender rehabilitation class and once out he'll have to register as a sex offender. He could come up for parole in a just over a year and a half.

Satement from First Baptist Church

Statement from Dr. Rick Grant, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Benton, AR.

This is a sad day for many people. It is hard to see someone you've known for years as a friend, mentor, and colleague end up in this kind of circumstance. I'm also sad for the victims in this ordeal - young men and their families who trusted David as a teacher and leader.

The faith at First Baptist continues to be strong. It is a church that serves an incredibly great God, who will bless us if we strive to follow His will for our lives. I would ask that you please continue to pray for all involved and for the church.
Finally, I'd like to thank law enforcement, government officials, and others who have handled this with promptness and professionalism.

Former music minister charged with sexual indecency

A former music minister charged with sexual indecency with a minor appeared in a Saline County courtroom Monday afternoon. David Pierce faces more than 50 charges involving teenage boys.

Pierce didn't say much to the judge, but his attorney spoke on his behalf and a church friend offered him support.

Walking into court Monday afternoon former music Minister David Pierce declined to comment on the 53 charges accusing him of sexual indecency with a minor.

After a brief appearance before a Saline County judge, Pierce walked out surrounded by deputies, again not stopping to comment.  But a friend and church member spoke in support of Pierce

“Christian brothers should know if they ask for forgiveness that we as Christians should reach out and offer that forgiveness and do what ever we can to support them to become whole again,” Greg White said.

The charges against Pierce came about after a teenage boy made accusations that Pierce had sexual contact with him. Later, three more came forward. First Baptist Church of Benton fired Pierce shortly after the charges came to light. Pierce hasn't issued a plea yet but his attorney Mark Hampton says they are working to resolve the case.

“I want to let you know myself and on behalf of Mr. Pierce I’ll be working with Mr. Cassidy to try and get the right resolution for both Mr. Pierce and all parties involved in this case,” Hampton said.

What the right resolution is Hampton isn't saying nor is he saying anything about his client's guilt or innocence.

Pierce remains out on bond so the judge reminded him that he is to have no contact with the victims in this case. He heads back to court August 17th.
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