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Area youth minister charged with felony sexual assault

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The youth minister of the Cherokee Village First Baptist Church turned himself in, and was served with an arrest warrant on July 2 charging him with second degree sexual assault, following an incident that occurred at the church with a 14-year old juvenile.

Paul Kevin Hendrix, 50, of Cherokee Village confessed to the crime after being interviewed by Arkansas State Police Special Agent Wendall Jines and Sharp County Detective Sergeant Ken Guidry.

According to the case report from the Sharp County Sheriff's office, the allegations stem from a June 27 incident after a church service.

Highland Police Chief Jeremy Stevens was contacted by the victim's mother about a possible molestation. Stevens referred the victim to the Sheriff's office.

Guidry interviewed the victim, who told him Hendrix lured her into the kitchen area of the church after a church activity, under the pretense that he needed to talk to her.

During the discussion, the victim said Hendrix inappropriately touched her on the outside of her clothing for a few minutes, and attempted to put his hand inside of her shirt, before she pushed him away and went into the youth area. The victim told detectives that later, while she was outdoors waiting for someone to pick her up, Hendrix came out of the building and again began talking to her, but did not mention the previous encounter.

During the interview with the victim, Guidry asked her to make a controlled call to Hendrix. During that conversation, Hendrix denied the incident had occurred.

Hendrix later contacted Jines about the allegations. Jines, in turn, contacted Guidry about the case. The two met with Hendrix at the church. Guidry then spoke with Hendrix, who denied the allegations made against him, although he was not being questioned about the incident at that time.

Jines advised Hendrix of the procedures that follow a case of this type, and informed him that a polygraph might be offered to assist him in clearing his name. Hendrix indicated he was willing to take the test.

The items of clothing the victim was wearing the night of the incident were recovered for collection of "touch DNA" evidence.

On June 29, the pastor of the church, Larry White, spoke with Jines and Guidry about the incident. On July 2, Hendrix turned himself in, and gave a full confession regarding sexually touching the juvenile. According to the police report, Hendrix also admitting to two other incidents with the same young woman in January, in which the young woman was made to sit on his lap, and in a separate incident, where Hendrix removed the girl's shirt after giving her another to change into for a church event.

Hendrix was arrested following his confession, and bond was set at $10,000 by District Judge Mark Johnson. Hendrix posted bond immediately and was released.

Second degree sexual abuse is a Class B felony, and requires registration as a sex offender if convicted.

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This news article shows once again how useless the Sex Offender Registry is at keeping our communities safe. Mr. Hendrix was not on a registry and putting him on one will not help the situation. It's obvious that he needs counseling along with his punishment. This incident also shows "again" the myth of stranger danger. Sex offenses against a minor are mostly done by a family member or some other adult they know well. See www.ArkansasTimeAfterTime.org and find out what can be done that will truly make our communities safer.

-- Posted by Lovestogarden on Wed, Jul 18, 2012, at 1:28 PM

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