A 58-year-old man is accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl in a church where he was a minister, Jefferson County authorities say.
Tyrone Banks, Sr., of Pleasant Grove, has been charged with rape by forcible compulsion and first degree sodomy. The rape charge is specifically for victims under the age of 15.
Banks was a friend of the victim's mother, but the sheriff's office wouldn't say how they knew each other or for how long.
On Saturday, April 12, the girl's mother had an event to attend and Banks offered to watch her daughter. That evening, Banks drove the girl to a church near Hueytown where he claimed he was an associate pastor.
"He had a key to the church and took the victim inside to the kitchen where he sexually assaulted her," Chief Deputy Randy Christian said. He then drove her home.
The victim was returned to her mother late on April 12. She told her mother about the assault and they reported it to the Pleasant Grove Police Department the next day, according to the sheriff's office.
Pleasant Grove police contacted the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office about the case on April 14 since the church where the assault allegedly happened was outside of their jurisdiction. The sheriff's office has not named the church where the assault allegedly took place.
Lt. Don Edge with the sheriff's office clarified that Banks was not an associate pastor, but was a minister at the church and preached there on occasion.
Lt. Edge said Banks denied anything happened. He told authorities he picked up the girl and they went for a ride.
Banks was arrested on May 2. He posted a $120,000 bond and was released on May 4.
Deputies say this appears to be the first inappropriate contact Banks had with the girl. But when a child is abused, deputies say it's not just the physical trauma that is hard to overcome.
"The sexual abuse of a child is not just bad because of the physical trauma, but there is a violation of trust. If someone you trust has violated you as a child, whether it's a person of position, a family member or a trusted friend, that trust is lost and it has the potential to stay with the child for the rest of his or her life and it's just a horrible crime on so many levels," Edge said.
Banks was charged with first degree robbery in 2002 and was convicted, but the sheriff's office did not have any other details about that charge.
Lt. Edge said other charges against Banks will be forthcoming in the next few days. He said the charges don't involve any other victims. He did not describe the nature of the pending charges.
FOX6 attempted to speak with Banks at his residence, but he was not home.
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