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story.lead_photo.caption Derek Smittle, 30, of Centerton is accused of sexually assaulting a girl who attends the church where Smittle works as a volunteer pastor.

A Northwest Arkansas pastor is accused of sexually assaulting a Bentonville girl who attended the church where he volunteers, authorities said Tuesday.

Derek Smittle, 30, of Centerton faces a first-degree felony sexual assault charge following his arrest Monday. Smittle is accused of having sexual relations with a Bentonville girl who attends the church, according to a Bentonville Police Department statement.

First Baptist Centerton said Tuesday that it terminated Smittle’s volunteer position, adding that church officials are reviewing policies to safeguard minors at events it hosts.

“As a church that endeavors to follow the highest standard of morality outlined by the Bible, we recognize the seriousness of immoral sexual behavior,” a statement by the church read.

First-degree sexual assault charges carry a maximum 30-year sentence in Arkansas.

Smittle is free on bond, police said.

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Comments

  • UoABarefootPhdFICYMCA
    January 15, 2019 at 11:35 a.m.

    Thanks Yousef

  • RobertBolt
    January 15, 2019 at 11:38 a.m.

    Responsible parents must ask themselves whether involving their children in Christian youth programs is tantamount to child endangerment.

  • mrcharles
    January 15, 2019 at 12:27 p.m.

    NW ARK, Moral as in DT support.

    I may have missed it , but did it mention that he was a migrant, or brown, or muslim , or transgender, all DT tells us to worry about?

    Or could it be he is , if guilty, a low life MF, a creep and hopefully gets retribution quite severely for his actions regardless of race, religion, creed, ethnicity or other things we use.

    robert, an astute statement, but you may be right if the ADG is looked at with the vast numbers of his kind reported. It might be noted the outrage at the catholic system of molestation is not a stand alone system, but them there protestant being divine too , do their fair share of abomination.

  • UoABarefootPhdFICYMCA
    January 15, 2019 at 1:01 p.m.

    The church enjoys a very comfortable relationship with the State.
    My only suggestions (two) is that they get even more comfortable with the State.
    and make sure the State becomes even more comfortable with concerned citizens.

  • ParkHillBilly
    January 15, 2019 at 1:44 p.m.

    Have you noticed there haven't been assaults from trans people in Target bathrooms? Do you remember how hysterical people became over that fear?

  • malice06220956
    January 15, 2019 at 1:57 p.m.

    Looking at the comments below, it seems smug self-congratulatory superiority has shifted from religious hypocrites to anti-religious hypocrites. It's all bad.

  • 0boxerssuddenlinknet
    January 15, 2019 at 2:43 p.m.

    just out of curiosity was the minor 4 or 18 years old. still a crime but there should be more information without naming the abused. ????????

  • UoABarefootPhdFICYMCA
    January 15, 2019 at 3:14 p.m.

    Good time to mention for the past 10 years U.S.A as allowed tens of thousands of child-bride marriages/out of State/U.S.A. child marriages, up to and including bringing their entire underage-bride families here.
    wivb DOT com/news/national/us-approves-thousands-of-child-bride-requests-and-that-s-legal/1700223952

  • Packman
    January 15, 2019 at 3:23 p.m.

    Hey robertbolt - Should responsible parents ask themselves the same question before involving their children in any activity that involves strange adults spending time with their children such as youth athletic leagues, scouting, swimming, gymnastics, etc.? Why should it be limited to Christian youth programs?

  • RobertBolt
    January 15, 2019 at 4:57 p.m.

    Parents should exercise caution according to the threat level. The frequency of child sexual abuse in Christian churches is extremely well documented. This seems obvious.

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