Minister Charged With Child Sexual Abuse

BREWTON, Ala. (AP) - A part-time Southern Baptist preacher who lives in Brewton and pastors a Baker, Florida, church has been charged with first-degree sexual abuse for allegedly fondling an eleven-year-old girl.

Brewton Police said The Reverend Stephen Lyle Whittaker listed on an online church directory as the pastor of Beaver Creek Baptist Church surrendered Tuesday after the girl's mother reported her suspicions to authorities on March 12th.

The 40-year-old Whittaker remains free on a five-thousand dollar bond.

Police said the girl's mother called police after her daughter told schoolmates Whittaker repeatedly abused her. The students told their parents, and one girl's mother called the alleged victim's mother.

Whittaker reportedly admitted touching the child several times, but said the touching was accidental.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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