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Pastor’s arrest shocks church

Danville, Va.
By Jim Wicker

A former Burlington pastor charged with sex crimes has left his Danville, Va., church after reportedly admitting to deacons there that he acted inappropriately with a child.
Many members of the Danville church pastored by the Rev. James Preston Tyndall were shocked Sunday to learn that he had been charged with six felony sex crimes Thursday and had resigned Friday evening.
“I would say our people were shocked. But some of them had heard about his arrest on TV prior to the Sunday service,” Bruce Hutcheson, chairman of the deacon board at Stokesland Baptist Church, said Monday of Tyndall’s departure.
Hutcheson and other deacons who met with Tyndall after his release from the Alamance County Jail have said that he admitted to them that he engaged in inappropriate conduct with the child.
Burlington authorities said the girl, now 14, was 8 and 9 years old when the alleged offenses occurred in Burlington.
Tyndall, 48, was charged by Burlington police detectives with three counts of first-degree sexual offense with a child and three counts of taking indecent liberties with a child between Oct. 1, 1994, and May 31, 1995, while he was pastor of Kinnett Memorial Baptist Church in Burlington.
Police said Tyndall left the Burlington church in 1996 after three years.
He left Burlington and, according to Hutcheson, had served as the pastor of a Baptist church in Mount Olive before being hired about three months ago as Stokesland Baptist Church’s pastor.
“We haven’t had any problems with him,” Hutcheson said.
In checking out Tyndall’s references at the Mount Olive church, Hutcheson said he understood that they hadn’t had any problem with him, either.
“Things such as these can happen to any church, no one is immune,” the deacon chief said.
The Danville church, located near West Main Street, has between 130 and 150 members. It reportedly grew by several members during Tyndall’s short tenure.
Officers at the Alamance County Jail said Monday the minister spent only one night and most of a day in the jail. He was jailed Thursday night after surrendering to police detectives.
The jail log shows Tyndall was released at 5:24 p.m. Friday after a $200,000 bond secured by property was posted for his appearance in court later. Neither the jail nor the Alamance County Clerk of Court’s office had the names of the bond’s signers available Monday afternoon.

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