Preacher accused of child sex abuse appears in court

Farren being escorted from Miller County Courthouse Thursday, August 4.

A Texarkana preacher accused of sexually abusing two girls made a court appearance Tuesday in Miller County.

David Wayne Farren, 42, is scheduled to face a jury in July on nine felony counts and one misdemeanor charge connected to alleged misconduct with two girls he knew because of his religious work, according to court records. Farren appeared before Circuit Judge Carlton Jones with Texarkana attorney Jason Horton for a pretrial hearing.

Horton said he is in possession of copies of most of the state’s evidence and expects to soon receive evidence related to a cell phone search. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Connie Mitchell said she intends to provide Horton with the phone information by the week’s end. Horton told Jones he is uncertain about going forward with trial in July because of another case he is trying in late June. Jones said he thinks the date for Farren’s trial will leave enough time for preparation and said he wants the case to stay on track.

Farren is facing seven counts of first-degree sexual assault, two counts of second-degree sexual assault and one misdemeanor charge of violating mandatory reporting requirements. The misdemeanor charge involves a requirement under Arkansas law for individuals-such as the clergy, teachers or medical personnel-to report suspected incidences of child abuse to law enforcement.

First degree sexual assault is punishable by six to 30 years in prison and a fine up to $15,000. Second-degree sexual assault is punishable by five to 20 years and a fine up to $15,000. The pending misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in the county jail and a fine up to $2,500. Farren is currently free on bond. Jones scheduled the case for a final pretrial hearing July 11.

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