Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lutheran Pastor charged for sexually assaulting Hispanic woman

A Graham pastor is facing a charge of aggravated sexual assault after being indicted Friday by the Young County grand jury.
Owen Davis, vicar at Faith Lutheran Church, was indicted on the first-degree felony charge and could face between five and 99 years in a state prison if convicted.
Young County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Capt. Tim Bay said he began investigating Davis in October when he was told a Hispanic adult female who was in the country illegally and worked at Davis’ home in Graham alleged the pastor had sexually assaulted her.
“She wanted to report she was sexually assaulted by Mr. Davis,” Bay said. “She was afraid to come forward because of her legal status in the country.”
The woman told her story to another preacher in the area who contacted Bay. Bay then interviewed the woman.
“She was working for him, cleaning and doing various jobs around the house,” Bay said.
Bay said after the woman began working at Davis’ home, he made her sign a contract that appeared to be a confidentiality agreement.
“He told her she had to comply with his demands because she had signed a contract,” Bay said. “He then assaulted her, and he videotaped everything.”
Bay said the sex act was caught on tape. While the video does not show the woman struggling, Bay said Davis had coerced her with threats to gain her compliance.
“It was force by intimidation,” Bay said.
During the investigation, which was run jointly by Bay and the local Texas Ranger, four search warrants were served at Davis’ home in Graham, Faith Lutheran Church, a hunting property in Jack County and another home Davis owns in Highland Park. During the searches, which were run at the same time, officers seized computers, cameras and other items.
Bay said at least two videos of Davis with women, including the one who made the allegations, were found.
The computers and cameras have been sent to a company that specializes in finding deleted items to see if other items can be found on the computers.
“We found some video already,” Bay said.
Bay said the alleged victim claims Davis said he had to videotape their sexual encounter because he needed to send the tapes to a doctor. Bay said Davis admitted to being a member of a website where members trade sex tapes.
During the investigation, Davis was interviewed by the Texas Ranger. Bay said during the interview, Davis claimed the sexual encounter was consensual.
Bay said he’s afraid the alleged victim is not alone.
“While we were running the search warrant, another lady showed up from Wichita Falls to clean his house and do his yard,” Bay said.
While that does not point to problems, Bay said he is fearful other victims may be out there and are afraid to speak up.
“My biggest fear is there are other victims that are afraid to come forward,” Bay said. “He’s probably done it to others who are here illegally or have other issues. It seems to me that’s who he’s preying on. It scares me that there are other victims who are afraid to come forward.”
District Judge Stephen Crawford signed the indictment Tuesday and set bond at $50,000.

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