First Baptist Church in Benton has been named, along with other Baptist organizations, in a civil lawsuit involving a 2009 sexual indecency case that resulted in the arrest of the Benton church’s music minister.
In 2009, David Kent Pierce, who was 56 at the time of his conviction, was formerly a music minister at Benton’s First Baptist Church for 29 years until he was fired following the investigation.
Pierce pleaded guilty in 2009 to 54 counts of sexual indecency with children, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. He was convicted in August 2009 by the Saline County Circuit Court and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. However, he was paroled in 2012
“The accusers told authorities Pierce made them disrobe and then took measurements of their genitals and other body parts as part of what he called ‘charting,’ according to the court records. After that, Pierce and the boys often would masturbate.
Kent is currently listed as a Level 3 offender on the Missouri State Highway Patrol Sex Offender Registry. According to the Missouri listing, his offense occurred in 2006 and involved a 15-year-old boy in Saline County.
The reported incidents took place at Pierce’s church office, at the bell tower, at a cabin in rural Saline County and at his home, The Democrat-Gazette reported.
Two accusers also said Pierce showed them pornography on a computer.
Investigators searched Pierce’s home and office and seized cameras, a computer, bottles of lubricant, legal pads, videos, CDs, letters addressed to three different males and photos of boys in their underwear.
Other defendants include the Central Baptist Association; the Arkansas Baptist State Convention; the Southern Baptist Convention; the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention; and insurance companies associated with the above during the times of alleged abuse.