Crime

Youth pastor faces third sex-abuse charge in Pearl River County

By WESLEY MULLER

wmuller@sunherald.com

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Thorne
Thorne

PEARL RIVER COUNTY -- Authorities have filed a third charge against a Baptist youth pastor arrested Tuesday in Hancock County on allegations he sexually abused a child.

Pearl River County deputies filed a sexual battery charge against David Matthew Thorne of Picayune on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after he was booked in Hancock County on two similar charges.

Thorne, 35, a youth pastor at Goodyear Baptist Church in Pearl River County, is accused in the sexual abuse of the same child three times, PRC Chief Deputy Shane Tucker said.

Hancock County sheriff's Chief Investigator Glenn Grannan said the child was first abused Jan. 31 in Hancock County.

Tucker said the second and third incidents both occurred Feb. 7, first in Pearl River County then later in Hancock.

The alleged crimes came under investigation after the child's parents notified authorities, investigators said.

According to his biography page on the Goodyear Baptist Church's website, which has since been taken down, Thorne is originally from Hickory and has been serving at Goodyear since July 2007.

The Rev. Jeremy Williams, Goodyear's head pastor, released a statement Wednesday regarding Thorne:

"We are limited in what we can say concerning the situation with Mr. Thorne due to an ongoing investigation into the veracity of the allegations. Due to the severity of the allegations, the church has suspended Mr. Thorne and is currently undertaking the necessary steps set forth in our constitution and by-laws to sever the employment relationship between the church and Mr. Thorne. We are currently praying for both families and we are attempting to minister to all who are involved so healing may be experienced by all parties."

Thorne is being held without bond in the Hancock County jail. He will be transferred to Pearl River County after his case in Hancock is adjudicated, Tucker said.

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