Medford pastor accused of molesting minors for 16 years
MEDFORD - Accusations of juvenile sexual molestation over a 16-year span lead to eight related charges against a pastor of the township, now indefinitely relieved of his responsibilities to the church.
Harry L. Thomas, 74, is under medical treatment following his Wednesday arrest, according to the office of Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina, along with Medford Police Chief Richard J. Meder.
Authorites allege that four minors are involved in incidents that stretch from 1999 to 2015. Thomas, leader of Medford's Come Alive Church, is charged with a first-degree count of aggravated sexual assault, three second-degree sexual assault charges, and four second-degree child-endangerment counts.
Elders of Come Alive Church issued a statement late this afternoon:
"It is with deep regret and saddened hearts that the Elders and Trustees of Come Alive New Testament Church have indefinitely suspended Pastor Harry Thomas from all leadership positions with the church, festival and all associated ministries. While the allegations are unrelated to his roles in these ministries, leadership has determined this to be the proper course of action at this time until there can be a full investigation. It is requested that all pray for the parties involved and refrain from speculation regarding the circumstances."
Information about the alleged victims was withheld, including their current ages, but investigators believe that the incidents all took place in Medford. They did not specify the number or nature of the alleged incidents, and did not elaborate on where they would have taken place.
Authorities did not disclose the condition for which Thomas is being treated, or whether he has retained an attorney
Investigators are interested in hearing from anyone who claims to have had inapproipriate physcial contact with Thomas. The Prosecutor's sexual assault-child abuse unit can be reached at 609-265-5879. Medford PD can be reached at 609-654-7511.
Medford PD Detective William Knecht, and Detective Jack Bowker of the Prosecutor's Office, lead the probe.
Charges are accusations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless, and until, found guilty in a court of law.
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