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Pastor's legal troubles expand
Police seize videotape alleged to show sex with child
Keri Kirby / The Times
Posted on July 17, 2003

The Ringgold pastor arrested Tuesday for allegedly exposing himself to children in a Bossier City park over the past several months now also stands accused of having sex with a girl to whom he is related and recording the acts on videotape.

Authorities filed the new charges Wednesday against Eddie Thomas after finding a homemade videotape in the 40-year-old's residence in the 3400 block of Schuler Drive, city spokesman Mark Natale said.

The tape seized following Thomas' arrest Tuesday afternoon on a charge of indecent behavior with a juvenile allegedly shows him engaged in sexual acts with a female juvenile relative, Natale said. To protect the girl's privacy, her age and relation to Thomas are not being released, Natale said.

Wednesday, authorities added a charge of indecent behavior with a juvenile and filed one count each of aggravated incest and pornography involving a juvenile against Thomas. The pastor of St. Luke Baptist Church in Ringgold remained in the Bossier City Jail in lieu of $50,000 bond.

Thomas allegedly matches the description of a man who exposed himself to children in Mike Woods Park in south Bossier City on numerous occasions, according to a lengthy investigation by the Police Department's juvenile unit. Those reports were made as early as last year, Natale said.

"The most recent report was from early this past spring. And (the second indecent behavior charge) was from August 2002. And that's about the time we began seeing some of these cases evolve from Mike Woods Park. And I want to say there's been about half a dozen reports made."

Thomas' neighbors said they do not know him well and wondered about the police cars in front of his residence late Tuesday night.

"It's awful," said Sharon Lowery, who lives across the street from Thomas. "You just don't know what to expect from anybody anymore. I've lived here since 1976, and we've never had anything like this happen in our neighborhood."

Thomas, who has lived across the street for a little more than a year, always seemed polite when they spoke, Lowery said. "I think his sister lives in the house, and I think he lives with them."

Thomas has been pastor of the small church on Pine Bluff Road just west of Ringgold for about a year.

"I really don't know anything about him," Ringgold Mayor Bob Corley said. "I know the church is a few miles outside of town, but I've never met him. ... I asked some of my employees if they knew him, and all they knew is that he does not live here and he comes in on Sunday and preaches."

Bienville Sheriff John Ballance said he does not know of any similar allegations against Thomas in his parish.

To help

Call Bossier City police at (318) 741-8605 with any information about a man seen exposing himself to children in Mike Woods Park in south Bossier City over the past several months.

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