Bullitt County youth pastor cleared of sexual abuse - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Bullitt County youth pastor cleared of sexual abuse

A Bullitt County youth pastor has been cleared of sexual abuse charges.  The charges were dropped because a former church member now admits she made it all up to punish Clayton Pruett.

"I've had to go to jail.  I've had my name all over the Internet."  It has been a long seven months of Clayton Pruett.  "Nothing that was said about me was true."

Pruett is a youth pastor at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Bullitt County.

"Just to be accused of hurting a child is the lowest thing anyone could ever do to you."  And that's exactly what happened to Pruett in December.  "It was like someone had just hit me with a sledge hammer in the stomach."  That sledge hammer was former church member Debra Johnson who accused Pruett of molesting her teenage daughter.

"They just knocked on my door and said we have a warrant for your arrest," said Pruett.

Pruett was arrested, removed from his position at church and suspended from his job as a substitute teacher and wrestling coach at Bullitt Central High.

"I was offered a misdemeanor deal and I wouldn't take it."  Pruett maintained his innocence from the beginning and didn't regret turning down the plea deal.  "Because I knew that if we had our day in court we could easily prove their story to be false."

But Pruett got something even better than his day in court.  Tuesday, Johnson signed this affidavit clearing Pruett and admitting she had made false statements to the police and media.

"Once you tire a man with the tire brush it's hard to wash it off," said Bullitt County Attorney, Tom Givhan.

Givhan wrote the agreement and says it should restore Pruett's good name.  "I didn't want to leave any room for anybody to have a doubt that Mr. Pruett had been slandered."

"I never want to send an innocent person to prison," said Bullitt County Detective Scotty McGaha.

McGaha arrested Pruett and is now looking into charging Debra Johnson.  "We are consulting with the county attorney's office now on what charges will be pursued against Ms. Johnson."

Right now, Debra Johnson is living in Arkansas.  Pruett believes she made up the story because he disciplined her daughter.

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