Youth pastor at local church facing local sexual assault charges
Published 7:00 am Thursday, March 17, 2016
The Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department also has a sexual battery charge pending against 35-year-old David Thorne of 81 Herschel Mitchell Road in Picayune.
Tuesday, Thorne was arrested by deputies with the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department and was charged with two counts of sexual battery of a minor, Hancock County Sheriff’s Department Chief Investigator Glenn Grannan said.
The alleged incidents occurred in Hancock County in January and February, Grannan said.
Grannan said Tuesday that investigators have no reason to believe there is more than one victim. However, the investigation is still ongoing, he said.
Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Shane Tucker said charges have also been pressed by the local agency as a result of an alleged incident that occurred in Pearl River County on February 7, with the same victim.
The sexual battery was reported to the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department on March 9 by the victim’s parents, Tucker said.
Tucker said the victim is 15-years-old and it is believed that she was a parishioner at Goodyear Baptist Church in Picayune where Thorne serves as youth pastor.
The Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department has placed a hold on Thorne and he will be charged with one count of sexual battery on a minor once extradited, Tucker said.
In a statement released from Goodyear Baptist Church, officials said they are limited to what they can say due to the ongoing investigation into the allegations.
“Due to the severity of the allegations, the church has suspended Mr. Thorne and is currently undertaking the necessary steps set forth in our constitution and by-laws to sever the employment relationship between the church and Mr. Thorne,” the release states. “We are currently praying for both families and we are attempting to minister to all who are involved so healing may be experienced by all parties.”