Harlan County pastor denies rape and sodomy charges

By: Kendall Downing Email
By: Kendall Downing Email

A Harlan County pastor said he had a feeling from above that something bad was about to happen. Now 36-year old Jeremy Caraway is behind bars.

State Police believe he had sex with a young girl who is a member of his congregation.

Caraway said he was just trying to counsel the girl, not have sex with her.

"It's never a good thing to work a case like this," said James E. Hensley, Jr, with Kentucky State Police.

This house of worship has a pastor who says he was just trying to help.

"Did I respond in ways that could be misconstrued, absolutely," said Jeremy Caraway, Pastor of Loyall Church of God.

Now Caraway is preaching from jail.

"I've never touched her, except around the altar when we were praying," said Caraway.

Caraway is pastor of Loyall Church of God in Harlan County.

He was arrested and charged with rape and sodomy on Sunday. Family members of the victim, who is younger than 14, tipped off police.

Detectives uncovered suggestive Facebook messages, pointing to a relationship between the pastor and his underage paritioner.

"She was talking about things that she wanted to have done and things that she was doing to herself," said Caraway.

Caraway said he's been helping the girl with personal issues.

"The girl was dating my younger son," said Caraway.

But he said she started sending him suggestive messages weeks ago.

"I'm a fat bald preacher, and her response was that you are sexy," said Caraway.

"We just developed evidence that they were having a relationship at this time," said Hensley.

The arrest warrant said Caraway allegedly had sex with the girl in the church.

Police said no other victims have come forward. Caraway remains in jail on a $45,000 cash bond.

Caraway was arrested at his home, which is next to the church. Family members did not want to talk to us on camera, but they did say that they believe he is innocent.

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