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#ChurchToo Church Culture

Former Arkansas Student Minister Arrested for Sexual Indecency with a Child

A former youth minister at a Bentonville, Arkansas church has been arrested for sexual indecency with a child.

Keenan Hord, 32, was arrested Aug. 25 following an Aug. 19 complaint filed by First Baptist Bentonville on the Arkansas State Police child abuse hotline, per Arkansas Baptist News.  

J.D. “Sonny” Tucker, executive director of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, said it appeared that First Baptist Church “responded immediately and decisively to properly handle this heartbreaking situation.”

KNWA-TV reported that police seized multiple electronic devices from Hord and recovered evidence during a forensic examination of the devices.

There are believed to be up to 30 other victims, KTHV-TV reported.

Hord is being held in the Benton County jail on a $500,000 bond.

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Hord began working at First Baptist in 2016 and became student pastor in 2018. The allegations of misconduct came to light after Hord no longer worked at First Baptist, the church said. 

“We have been devastated to learn that a former employee of our church has been credibly accused of abusing adolescents during his tenure at our church,” the church said in a statement, adding that it will continue to “fully support the ongoing law enforcement investigation.”

“We are ministering to the survivors and their families who demonstrated incredible courage in coming forward. We are praying for God’s perfect peace for those who have been harmed and God’s justice for the abuse of His people,” the statement said.

Hord also was on staff at Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tennessee, from 2011 to 2016, serving as student pastor of Bellevue’s Arlington campus starting in 2014.

There are no allegations that Hord acted inappropriately in his role at the Memphis-area church, but Bellevue Baptist sent an email to members asking them to report any known criminal activity to police.

“In response to this new information, Bellevue is launching a thorough, internal review,” the email said. “The findings of the review will be shared after it is completed.”

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Anne Stych

Freelance writer, copy editor, proofreader and content manager. Science, technology, retail, etc. writer, ACBJ BizWomen.

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