Texarkana pastor pleads not guilty to child sex abuse

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A Texarkana clergyman accused of sexual misconduct with two girls he met through church pleaded not guilty Tuesday to nine felonies and a misdemeanor in a Miller County, Ark., courtroom.

David Wayne Farren, 41, stood for arraignment before Circuit Judge Carlton Jones with Texarkana lawyer Jason Horton. After pleading not guilty on Farren’s behalf, Horton asked the court to schedule the case for trial in April and Jones agreed. Jones set the case for pretrial hearings in February and early April and scheduled jury selection for April 24 at the Miller County courthouse.

Farren was arrested twice in August on warrants accusing him of sexual misconduct. He is currently free on a total $40,000 bond.

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Earlier this month a criminal information was signed by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Connie Mitchell charging Farren with nine felonies and one misdemeanor. Counts one through seven allege Farren had sex with a minor, “and was in a position of trust or authority over the victim and used the position of trust or authority to engage in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual activity,” with the girl.

All seven counts of first-degree sexual assault allegedly occurred beginning in April 2013 and continuing through August 2013. Count eight alleges Farren engaged in sexual contact with the same girl beginning in April 2012 and continuing through August 2013.

Count nine accuses Farren of engaging in sexual contact with a second girl in 2007. The tenth count alleges Farren violated a law which requires him as a member of the clergy to report child abuse. Farren is accused of knowing a child was a likely victim of abuse in 2012 and failed to notify authorities.

Farren’s Facebook page continues to identify him as lead pastor of Anchor Church in Texarkana. Farren has worked as a pastor and youth minister at other area churches as well.

If convicted, Farren faces six to 30 years on each of the seven first-degree sexual abuse charges. The two second-degree charges are punishable by six to 20 years. All of the nine felonies includes the possibility of a $15,000 fine. The misdemeanor charge involving alleged violation of the mandatory reporting law is punishable by up to a year in the Miller County jail and a fine up to $2,500.

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