Miller County prosecutors charge pastor with rape

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Miller County prosecutors have formally charged a California pastor from Texarkana with rape for the alleged abuse of a younger relative when she was a child.

David Jerome Keener, 36, would have been about 18 when he allegedly began sexually abusing the girl at a relative’s home where she was often babysat in Texarkana, Ark., according to a probable cause affidavit. The alleged victim reported to Texarkana, Ark., police in March that Keener repeatedly sodomized her from the time she was 9 until she was about 13.

The woman said she did not tell because she was unsure if anyone would believe her. The alleged victim reported that Keener’s father was a pastor at a local church and that Keener began preaching when he was 17. Videos of Keener preaching to a California congregation can be found online.

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The alleged victim said she was sleeping on a floor with other children at her relative’s home the day Keener abused her for the first time. She alleges Keener woke her and told her she could sleep on a bed instead of the floor.

“Once she laid down in the bed she felt David lean up to her ear from behind and heard him whisper, ‘Don’t tell anyone what I’m about to do to you,'” according to the affidavit. “After that she says she remembers that she just blacked out and that the following morning she was hurt and scared to tell anyone.”

The woman said Keener often assaulted her in the mornings after her parents dropped her off on their way to work. The alleged victim said the abuse happened for “years and years and years and I would just never say anything.”

The woman said the abuse ended when she was about 13.

“She said she remembered right before her thirteenth birthday and telling herself she did not want to be a teenager and still being raped by him so she told David that if he didn’t stop she would scream or tell someone,” the affidavit states. “She said he would apologize constantly but it didn’t mean anything because he would apologize after every time he raped her.”

The woman told members of her family about the abuse when she was older. One of the woman’s sisters allegedly confronted Keener via social media messaging.

“She then showed me the message and as I read over the document I saw where David had confessed to the rapes and stated that he was very sorry for what he had done but was in a dark place at the time,” the affidavit states.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Connie Mitchell formally signed off on three counts of rape against Keener. Each count is punishable by 10 to 40 years or life in prison.

Keener is currently free on $25,000 bond.

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