CALERA, Alabama -- The senior pastor of a Calera church who is a party in Shelby County's U.S. Supreme Court challenge of the Voting Rights Act has been arrested on a first-degree rape warrant, according to the Calera Police Department
Authorities arrested Harry Vester Jones, 49, of Calera following an investigation concerning a rape claim reported to police on April 9, according to information the agency released in a statement today.
The incident happened on April 2 and involved a 39-year-old woman who is not a Calera resident, according to the statement. The agency did not provide further details about the case.
Shelby County jail records show his booking date was Wednesday on the first-degree rape charge and his bond has been set at $60,000.
Jones is the pastor at the New Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Calera and one of the defendant intervenors in the case challenging the Voting Rights Act launched by Shelby County government.
Jones most recently gained international attention earlier this year during publicity surrounding the case as the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on the matter on Feb. 27.
News organizations from throughout the United States as well as some from overseas interviewed Jones about Shelby County's challenges to the Voting Rights Act. He is one of several intervening defendants in the case under representation from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
He and several of the members from his church, as well as dozens of others from throughout Shelby County and central Alabama, traveled to Washington, D.C., to attend the U.S. Supreme Court's arguments.
According to information on the church's website, Jones is married to Alecia Jones and they have five children. He has been preaching for 23 years.
The police department's statement indicated the agency received the report about the rape claim on April 9. After conducting the investigation and consulting with the Shelby County District Attorney's Office, police took Jones into custody on the first-degree rape charge.
Authorities obtained the warrant for his arrest on the charge through the Shelby County Magistrate Office.