Pastor, church worker accused of abusing children - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Pastor, church worker accused of abusing children

Posted: Updated:
Gerald Harris (left) and Christopher Williams (right). Source: Clark County Sheriff's Dept. Gerald Harris (left) and Christopher Williams (right). Source: Clark County Sheriff's Dept.
Up to 22 children were staying at a boarding school inside Crossroads Baptist Church in Sellersburg. Up to 22 children were staying at a boarding school inside Crossroads Baptist Church in Sellersburg.
The building commissioner placed a stop work order on the church after finding it was operating without a license. The building commissioner placed a stop work order on the church after finding it was operating without a license.

SELLERSBURG, Ind.. (WDRB) -- A pastor and another man have been arrested for allegedly beating students in their care at a boarding school inside Crossroads Baptist Church in Sellersburg. 

According to a news release, detectives with the Clarksville Police Department began investigating abuse allegations at the church on Sept. 1. After making contact with children ranging in age from 8 to 19 years old they learned that the children "had been given swats for various forms of punishment." 

Police arrested Pastor Gerald Harris and Christopher Williams. 

The prosecutor says Williams was called "brother Chris" and lived on-site, but investigators are still trying to figure out his exact role with the church.

Police say investigators noted several children with bruising and "one of them had serious bruising on his buttocks and each of his legs." 

According to the news release, investigators were told that one of the children "was tied tightly around the waist with a thin rope and then guided with that rope for three days." Police say the boy was punished in that way for walking away from the group in the home, and that he was "jerked around with the rope and at one point fell to the ground." 

Investigators say children also told them that they had to chew on a bar of soap for punishment. 

When police arrived, there were 13 children living at the boarding school, but we're told 22 children were there at one time. 

Detective Todd McCutcheon with the Clarksville Police Department says some "children were taken into custody by CPS and were taken to (the) Clark County Youth Shelter. Parents were contacted ... and parents have came and picked up the children. 

Many of the children are from out of state and parents were paying for their children to stay at the boarding school. 

We saw one parent from Louisville moving his son out today, but he didn't want to comment. 

The building commissioner also placed a stop work order on the church because it was operating without a license .

Harris is charged with four counts of battery and one count of neglect of a dependent, and Williams is charged with three counts of battery and one count of neglect of a dependent. 

Williams is due in court today. 

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