Pastor charged with Sex Crimes Against Children

11:10 AM, Feb 16, 2010   |    comments
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Clarendon County, SC (WLTX) -- Authorities say a 53-year-old pastor and former counselor for a Turbeville children's home was arrested Thursday and now faces charges of sexual abuse.

Officers with the Clarendon County Sheriff's Office say Arley Atchley of Sheminally Road in Pamplico was charged with two counts of second degree criminal sexual conduct.

Investigators said that Atchley committed sexual acts with a 13-year-old and a 14-year-old who lived at the Free Will Baptist Home for Children, where the 53-year-old suspect was once employed.

"Very recently I received some very specific allegations from more than one our children against a former staff member. I reported the information immediately," said the home's director Todd Parrish.

Officers say the abuse occurred during a two-year period beginning in 2004. Atchley worked at the home until 2009.

Authorities did not identify the sex of the children, saying it may reveal their identities. The homes director did say the children are being helped.

"We are currently providing support for these children emotionally and spiritually. We're providing professional counseling for them to help them through this time," said Parrish.

Investigators say Atchley is also the pastor of New Prospect Free Will Baptist Church in Pamplico. The children's home was founded as an orphanage in 1949. Currently it houses eight children who come from homes where the parents are unable or unwilling to take care of them.

"This will cause us to be even more vigilant. We're gonna move forward from this and we're gonna be better because of it," said Parrish.

Officers are not sure if other victims are out there, but they are urging anyone who may have information that could help investigators to call CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC or text a tip to "CRIMES" beginning with the term "TIPSC."

Rev. Todd Parrish, the director of Free Will Baptist Home for Children, provided a statement to the media that read:

"I can confirm that I recently received allegations, from more than one of our children, against a former staff member who was employed in the past. The FWB Home for Children Stands for the protection of all children placed into our care and their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being is our number one concern. The FWB Home for Children does not condone abuse against any of our children, whether it is physical, psychological, or sexual in nature, and will prosecute, to the fullest extent of the law, any confirmed case of abuse against a child, regardless of whom the perpetrator might be.

The FWB Home for Children has cooperated fully with the authorities since reporting these allegations to them and will continue to do so. Because of the ongoing investigation, and its sensitivity, this is all the information I can provide at this time, except to say that we are praying for and providing support to the children involved and are praying for the accused and their families during this time."

WLTX

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