A man forced to publicly confess to an alleged molestation of a teenage girl in his church, which did not report the incident to law enforcement, turned himself in to police on Wednesday.
The Moultrie Police Department got involved in the investigation on Oct. 14, when an investigator with the agency interviewed a witness at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Colquitt County.
The witness interviewed was the wife of suspect Roger Smith, a police incident report from that date said. The report said that the incident occurred at New Beginnings Bible Church, 914 Second Ave. S.W.
Smith, 56, 800 Northside Drive Apt. 3, was charged with one count of child molestation, police Inv. Raul Leal said.
Police were not notified by the church of the incident, which police believe occurred around Aug. 5.
“They tried to take care of it themselves,” Leal said.
At the church Wednesday evening, where a church service was about to begin, a deacon told a reporter that the pastor had no comment about the incident at this time.
So far, police are aware of only one alleged incident between Smith and the 13-year-old girl, Raul said. Church officials have been cooperative, he said.
The case remains open and police are looking to determine whether there were other victims.
Because church officials are now required to report crimes against children, that is another avenue police are exploring, Leal said.
“That’s still pending,” he said. “Right now I’m still going through the case.”