After an initial court appearance Thursday morning, Anchor Church Pastor David Wayne Farren was released from the Miller County jail on a $25,000 bail bond.
David Wayne Farren, 41, appeared at the Miller County courthouse with Texarkana attorney Jason Horton for a first appearance on three counts of first degree sexual assault before Circuit Judge Brent Haltom. Horton handed the judge a motion asking that the case be sealed and that a gag order preventing police and court officials from speaking about the case be issued.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Connie Mitchell expressed strong opposition to the gag order.
“I don’t believe this case should be treated any differently than other defendants,” Mitchell said. “We’ve not put gag orders in place in these cases before.”
Mitchell asked the court to order Farren to have no contact with minor females, other than immediate family. Horton responded by describing Mitchell’s request as “too broad.”
In response, Haltom reviewed a probable cause affidavit and noted that Farren’s alleged sexual misconduct occurred in a private home, not on Anchor Church property. Mitchell pointed out that Farren’s contact with the girl began when he was acting as her youth pastor.
“We do believe there are additional victims that will come forward,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell said Farren has worked at a number of area churches heading youth groups including Heritage Baptist Church, Trinity Baptist Church and Faith Baptist Church.
“We are asking that he have no contact with any female under the age of 18 out of an abundance of caution,” Mitchell said.
Horton proposed that Farren be permitted to continue to have contact with females under 18 as long as another adult is present when he does. Haltom agreed.
“This protects you,” Haltom said.
Haltom agreed to order law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to remain silent on the case unless granted court permission. But Haltom said that if additional arrest warrants are issued for Farren in the future, those will remain public record.
Farren was arrested Wednesday afternoon on three counts of first degree sexual assault. Each offense is punishable by six to 30 years in prison. Haltom scheduled Farren to return to court for a status hearing Aug. 16. According to Miller County jail records Farren was released from custody before noon Thursday after posting bond on the $25,000 bail.