The Winchester Sun

Pastor surrenders to Oklahoma officials

TISHOMINGO, Okla. (AP) — A Kentucky pastor accused of raping a 12-year-old Oklahoma girl has surrendered to Johnston County officials.

The Rev. Chadwick L. Keathley, associate pastor of Ark of Mercy Church of God in Winchester, Ky., responded Tuesday to an arrest warrant issued Aug. 26.

Prosecutors charged Keathley, 27, with lewd molestation, first-degree rape and rape by instrumentation. He was released after posting a $25,000 cash bond and an Oct. 22 preliminary hearing was scheduled.

The alleged incident occurred during summer 2000 at a Church of God gathering at Camp Bond Youth Camp near Tishomingo.

According to an affidavit, Keathley allegedly took the girl at knifepoint away from the camp and into a secluded wooded area, threatening to harm her and her family members.

Keathley’s attorney, Wallace Coppedge, said Keathley pleaded innocent and said, "We plan a vigorous defense, for the reason he didn’t do it."

Assistant District Attorney Charles Migliorino said there was a two-year gap between the alleged incident and the arrest because the girl didn’t immediately come forward.

"It was brought to the attention of the parents, the parents immediately reported it and it’s been investigated," Migliorino said.

Johnston County Sheriff Jon Smith said his office faxed the arrest warrant to the Clark County, Ky., sheriff.

"My understanding is sheriff’s officials there were unable to locate him (Keathley), but made contact with family members on Aug. 28, who told them he was traveling to Oklahoma to turn himself in," Smith said.

Keathley could face no less than five years in prison on the rape and rape by instrumentation charges and one to 20 years on the lewd molestation count.

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