UPDATE (Sept. 16, 2019) -- A jury found Garry Evans not guilty on all 14 counts following his trial in Rush County.
RUSHVILLE, Ind. – Officers with the Rushville Police Department arrested a pastor on child molestation charges following an investigation into sexual assault allegations at the Rushville Baptist Temple.
Garry Evans, 72, was charged with three counts of child molestation, four counts of sexual battery and five counts of child solicitation.
According to court documents, the investigation began on Sept. 4 when a 3-year-old girl disclosed info to her mother who then reported the incident to the Department of Child Services.
In an interview with police, the girl said Evans took her into his office by herself to get candy. Once in the office, Evans pulled down his pants and made the girl touch his penis. He then told the girl not to tell anyone.
Officers obtained a search warrant, and it was executed on Sept. 22 at the Rushville Baptist Temple Church in the 1300 block of North Spencer Street.
"There's not been a day gone by that we haven't done something associated with this case," said Rushville Police Chief Craig Tucker.
As word of the allegations spread throughout the church, it prompted several other women to ask their daughters about it. According to court documents, police interviewed four more girls all under the age of ten who said they were molested by Evans.
One girl said Evans touched her “nearly every time she went to church." She said when she told Evans "No," he just laughed.
Another girl said Evans regularly touched her; one time she told him to stop and left the room because it made her uncomfortable.
All of the incidents occurred when the girls went into his office to get candy. One girl told police Evans touched her every time she went to the church.
“If they can find a way to develop some relationship where they’re in power, where they’re in control they will utilize that with pedophiles, they have this unquenchable desire and thirst for that level of intimacy with children,” explains Camishe Nunley, with Healing with Hidden Hurts.
Police believe there could be many more victims that haven't come forward and are encouraging parents to notice the signs of potential abuse.
"If you have a child who has exhibited unusual behavior after being in the vicinity of the church or this pastor and you believe there has been something that has happened to this child that might indicate something inappropriate happened, we definitely want them to give us a call," Chief Tucker said.
Experts are encouraging parents to have an open discussion with their children about good touches versus bad touches. Also if you think your child has been sexually abused, don’t go into details about act because it could re-traumatize them. If your child or any child tells you about being inappropriately touched, always believe them.
Evans has been the pastor at Rushville Baptist Temple for about 30 years. He is currently being held without bond at the Rush County Jail.