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Ex-pastor accused of assaulting Bryan boy arrested

A Bryan pastor was arrested and released from jail Monday night after he was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, the Bryan-College Station Eagle reported Tuesday.

Fred Ford posted $25,000 bond and was released from the Brazos County Jail about 10 minutes after he arrived Monday night, a jail spokesman said today.

Ford was indicted earlier this month based on an allegation he had sexually assaulted a teenage boy who went on a trip with the pastor to the Texas Panhandle more than two years ago. Authorities in Bryan arrested Ford on Monday based on a Dec. 4 indictment by a Hale County grand jury. Hale County is about midway between Lubbock and Amarillo.

If convicted, Ford could face from five years to life in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

After the initiation of a criminal investigation in May, Ford resigned as pastor from the New Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Bryan where he had served for 17 years.

Ford and his attorney, Jim James, have declined to discuss the allegation. Neither Ford nor James could be reached for comment Tuesday by The Associated Press.

The boy told his mother last spring that Ford had pulled into a roadside park during the trip and performed a sex act on the boy and then ordered him to do the same in return, the newspaper reported.

The mother talked with deacons at the church about her son's allegations against Ford and then went to police.

Police Sgt. Sharean Gideon told the newspaper that Ford has not cooperated with law enforcement officials during their investigation.

Ford worked for the College Station Independent School District from 1993 to 2001. He left his position at New Zion on May 3 when he gave a resignation letter to one of the church's seven deacons.

"There weren't any hard feelings on his part in submitting his resignation," Deacon Artis Lawson said. "He said he wasn't submitting this out of guilt. He just felt it was best for him to remove himself. He didn't want to prolong the situation or force us to choose sides."

A new pastor took over at the church on Dec. 15. Another of the church's deacons, Edward Hall, said Ford remains highly regarded by many within the congregation.

"It's a very precarious position to be in," Hall said. "We love our pastor, and we also love our member. Both of them are family."

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