Former Russell County Church Employee Face Sexual Abuse Charges - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Russell County, AL

Former Russell County Church Employee Face Sexual Abuse Charges

Atlanta Bishop Christopher Bennett who recently served as a local church employee faces second degree sodomy charges.   Sheriff's deputies brought Bennett back to the Russell County jail late Thursday evening.  

Bennett is featured on several websites detailing his ministry.  He was an employee at Higher Power Outreach in Phenix City at the time the alleged incident happened in 2004.  An allegation that has many of them in shock.  "Initially when I heard this I was outraged because we hired him and trusted him as a man of God," said Pastor Johnnie Robinson.  

Lt. Heath Taylor says Bennett is accused of the same crime in Atlanta as well.  "The similarities of that case in College Park where he was arrested by authorities and our case are extremely similar," said Taylor.  

One woman who knows Bennett, says it will be interesting to see how these allegations impact his ministry.  "Sometimes people in the church use things as their testimony and say okay I came through this.  However, it could have a negative affect because people could look at him and say how could you," said Friend Viola Gilyard.  

Bennett's former congregation is taking extra precautions to check future employees who work for the church.  "We will be getting a full FBI check.  We want just get an ABI, but FBI check to make sure the person has a good background," said Robinson.  

The alleged victim is now 18 and came forward two weeks ago.  He reported this to educators within the Russell County School District where he is a student.

Lt. Taylor says the schools in the county did an excellent job in getting this information to them.

If convicted Bennett could face up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $30,000.

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