A former Ridgeview pastor has been charged for molesting a child for a second time.
James Robert “J.R.” Smith, 25, was a pastor at the Morningstar House of Prayer in Ridgeview in Boone County in October of last year when he was charged with sexually abusing a young boy in Fayette County, acccording to a criminal complaint filed in the case.
Smith has been out on bond on that charge, while Fayette County prosecutors are preparing to present the case to a grand jury.
However, a warrant was issued by the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department for Smith on Monday following his arrest on Tuesday for allegedly molesting a child in Indiana.
Some members of Robert’s family became irate outside of the courthouse and tried to attack an Eyewitness News reporter and cameraman, according to a report by WCHS-TV.
Last year, in October, Smith’s was initially charged with first degree sexual abuse and sexual abuse by a parent or guardian on a warrant out of Fayette County issued by the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office.
He was also under investigation by the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office for the same crimes because deputies have reason to believe the alleged sexual abuse happened not only in Fayetteville, but also Clendenin, several media outlets, including the Coal Valley News, reported.
The allegations go back to 2009, when the alleged victim was 10-years-old, according to reports.
“I just think that it’s somebody that’s out to sabotage him and I won’t believe no different,” said Janice Allen, a woman who lives across from the chuch and also attends it regularly, back in October of last year. “Ever seen he’s been here, there’s been tales told on him. He’s been confronted with it. Nobody can prove anything that’s even been said on him,” she said.
The 15-year-old alleged victim came forward in May 2014 and said Smith told him if he ever told anyone, “bad things” would happen.
The details are too graphic for publication, but the boy claims the molestation went on for years and also happened in Florida, Indiana, and Virginia. The most recent alleged incident happened in April 2014.
Family members went with Smith to turn himself in at the Kanawha County Courthouse and became irate when asked by reporters if they wanted to comment on the case.
One family member lunged through the others in the group toward reporters, and was restrained by others in the group. She then shouted, “if you ruin my brother’s life, I will kill you, *****.”
Deputies in Kanawha County said their investigation into Smith was still ongoing, while some in his former congregation are still standing beside him last year.
“That is what happens to a man or woman who is person of God. And you don’t fool with God’s people because it will come back to haunt you,” Allen said.
There have been no comments from Smith or his former congregation about his recent charge.
Fred Pace is an editor for Civitas Media. He can be reached at 304-369-1165, ext. 1661, in Madison; at 304-752-6950, ext. 1729 in Logan; by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or @fcpace62 on Twitter.