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TV pastor arrested again on sex charges

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

By STEPHANIE HANES
Monitor staff


Concord

Charles Gravenhorst, the self-described pastor who once preached his fringe Christian ministry on Concord Community TV, was arrested again yesterday, this time by federal agents for allegedly sending obscene material over the Internet and for using the Internet to induce teenage girls to engage in sex acts.

Gravenhorst, 45, was charged earlier this year with sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl in her Windham, Maine, home. The police said that he had met the girl over the Internet.

Gravenhorst has been out on bail and living in Concord since May, the Windham police said.

The Concord Community TV board suspended both Gravenhorst's access to the television studio - located in Concord High School - as well as his show, The Main Thing (XXX), soon after the Maine charges became public.

Gravenhorst, who wore sunglasses and chewed cigars as he threatened late-night CCTV viewers with damnation, has denied the allegations. He said in federal court yesterday that he would let federal agents transport him to Maine to face charges, said Stephen Monier, U.S. Marshal for the district of New Hampshire.

Federal agents say Gravenhorst sexually propositioned four teens, aged 14 and 15, between February of 2001 and March of 2002, according to his indictment. They say he sent obscene Internet images to three of those girls and to a fifth teen.

The indictment also alleges that Gravenhorst sent "obscene, lewd, lascivious and filthy pictures and writings" to that fifth teen, who was 16 years old, via the Internet. Federal agents also say Gravenhorst, also known as "Justin Foxe," "Andrew Graf," "agraf603," "justinnh" and "justinNH2001," used America Online instant messages to proposition this girl.

A federal grand jury in Portland indicted Gravenhorst last week, but the indictment remained secret until his arrest yesterday, federal authorities said.

The Windham police department first heard of Gravenhorst in January, when a teenage girl told them that he had arrived at her house unannounced and had fondled her. The girl told the police that she had met Gravenhorst "chatting" over the Internet, where he had pretended to be a 19-year-old boy.

America Online helped Windham detectives track down Gravenhorst in Concord. On March 11, the Concord police searched his Thompson Street home and found a jacket the teen said Gravenhorst wore during the attack. They also found a photograph of him, which they said they showed to the girl as part of a photo lineup. The police said the teen picked out Gravenhorst as her attacker.

The Windham police charged Gravenhorst with aggravated criminal trespass and unlawful sexual contact, which in Maine indicates illegal hand to genital contact. The Concord police arrested him April 5.

It was around that time, the police said, that federal agents started investigating Gravenhorst.

Federal officials will investigate and prosecute violations of interstate commerce laws, which can include illegal activity on the Internet.

"This kind of expanded once our case came together," said Windham police Lt. David DeGruchy.

Donald Clark, an assistant U.S. attorney in Maine, said he could not talk about the length of the federal investigation, when federal officials identified new alleged victims, or any other specifics not included in the indictment.

Gravenhorst will have a hearing about bail in Maine federal court once he is transported out of New Hampshire.


( contributed to this story.)

Tuesday, August 13, 2002



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