A pastor from Calera has been arrested for rape, according to Shelby County officials.
Harry Vestor Jones, a 49-year-old from Cal was booked into the Shelby County Jail around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 17. He is charged with first degree rape and being held on a bond of $60,000, according to the Shelby County Sheriff's Office website.
The Calera Police Department released more information about the arrest today around 11:30 a.m.
The press release says the rape happened on April 2 but was not reported to Calera police until a week later, April 9.
Police say after conducting an investigation and concurring with the Shelby County District Attorney's Office, they took Jones into custody on a first degree rape charge.
The police department says the victim in the case is a 39-year-old black female who is not a resident of Calera. Police say her identity "cannot be released at this time due to the on-going investigation."
Jones is listed as the senior pastor of New Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Calera on their website.
Jones denies any wrongdoing.
"At the advice of my attorney, I'm going to refrain from
making a statement but I will say this: that I'm innocent and it will play out
in the courtroom," he said Thursday.
Jones is also a defendant in the Shelby County Voting Rights case that is now before the U.S. Supreme Court. Shelby County is arguing that parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act are unconstitutional, but Jones and others believe those parts are legal and still needed today.
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