COGIC Pastor admits to sexually touching young girl
Authorities in Hebron, Maryland said that Cleon R. Deal, Sr, pastor of Timothy Farmer Memorial Church of God in Christ in Preston, MD [facebook] [church website] admitted to checking a 12 year old girl’s “puberty”.
According to an article posted in the Daily Times, the 44 year old married father of five was arrested and charged with multiple counts of sex offense, assault and sex abuse of a minor. Sex abuse of a minor, one of the most serious of the felony charges, carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison under Maryland law.
Deal was also employed by the Wicomico County Board of Education but is now on administrative leave.
A District Court hearing has been scheduled for early September.
Deal is on administrative leave, according to BOE officials.
The alleged victim was known to Deal; however, she is not one of his students, according to court documents.
The victim alleged the incidents occurred during a one-year period from 2007 to 2008, according to court documents.
Authorities were alerted to the alleged abuse after the Department of Social Services received a complaint from the victim’s mother, according to court records.
During an interview with police, the victim reported Deal had sexually touched her.
Deal was charged after an Aug. 8 interview with police, according to charging documents. He admitted to investigators after waiving his rights that he had inappropriately touched the victim when she was 12 years old.
“Cleon Sr. stated that … he was checking her for puberty,” wrote Cpl. Sigmund, of the Maryland State Police. “Cleon Sr. stated that he was curious and it was bad judgment on his part.”
Deal was appointed to the church by Bishop Paul Harmon in the Maryland Eastern Shore Jurisdiction.
Deal is the second Maryland COGIC clergy to be arrested and charged for child sexual crimes. In January 2009, former Elder Tony Ray Malbrough, also 44, was arrested and charged with sexually abusing two teenage boys. He was later convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison. [source]