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Former Youth Pastor Accused of Child Sex Crimes, Solicitation

HARRISON, Ark. – A former youth pastor faces numerous charges including sex crimes with children.
HARRISON, Ark. – A former youth pastor faces numerous charges including sex crimes with children.

Larry Michael Berkley, 34, a former youth pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in Harrison, Ark. is in the Boone County Jail on charges including first degree sexual assault, five counts of second-degree sexual assault, three counts of knowingly furnishing alcohol to a minor, three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, sexual solicitation and loaning pornography to minors.

According to a probable cause statement, the report against Berkley began on March 28, 2014 when a 15-year-old boy and his mother came forward to tell police about the incidents.

The boy and his mother told police Berkley allowed children to smoke marijuana, smoke from a Hookah, drink alcohol, walk around naked and have intercourse in his house.  They also said Berkley would grab male minors in the groin.

The boy also said that in nearly five instances, Berkley paid him $30 to lie in bed with him.

The minor’s mother went on to say that there were also allegations surrounding Berkley in the church involving theft, lying, stealing and more.

Specifically, the mother said the church was missing $4,400 that Berkley was entrusted with from a cookie dough fundraiser and a check he was given to make a payment for a mission trip.

The 15-year-old boy, who was 14 at the time of these incidents, also recounted a time when Berkley brought him to a local funeral home to see a dead body.

After this initial interview, detectives with the Harrison Police Department interviewed more than a dozen boys ages 14 to 18, who recounted similar stories.

According to court documents, these incidents occurred within the dates of Nov. 2012 and Jan. 2014.

On April 10, 2014, Harrison police went to Berkley's house for a statement.  Upon arrival, police noticed a U-Haul in the parking lot at the residence. According to the probable cause statement, Berkley told police he had already contacted an attorney and would not provide a statement to police.

CBS-affiliate KCTV reports Berkley was arrested on Monday in Covington, Tenn. after officiating at a graveside service.

He was extradited to the Boone County Jail and booked on Thursday at 3:41 a.m.

Bond has been set at $100,000.
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