Thursday, July 15, 2010

More families accuse pastor

More families accuse pastor
Settlemoir, also principal of Warren Baptist school, accused of molesting schoolboy
Friday, June 25, 2010

By Norb Franz, Macomb Daily Staff Writer

New criminal charges have been filed against a Warren pastor accused of sexually molesting a teenage boy.

Christopher Scott Settlemoir, who also is the principal of the school at Antioch Baptist Church, was arraigned Thursday on two counts of accosting children for immoral purposes. The offense is a felony punishable by up to four years in prison.

Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer said

the families of two other children came forward with allegations following last week's media reports that Settlemoir was charged with sexually assaulting a 15-year-old student.

"It's very disturbing. (A pastor is) a person of trust," Dwyer said. "Obviously, we're very concerned."

At the request of the Macomb County Prosecutor's Office, the city's top police administrator did not reveal the age and gender of the alleged victims in the latest case. Dwyer confirmed the accosting was done via text-messaging.

According to court records, the alleged offenses occurred between September 2009 and April 30, 2010.

Settlemoir, 26, of Warren, pleaded not guilty to the new charges Thursday in 37th District Court, moments before the scheduled start of his preliminary exam in the sexual misconduct case. Appearing calm with no discernable emotion, he waived his right to have a probable-cause hearing in each case heard within 14 days, to provide time for his attorney to obtain and review copies of police reports and other evidence.

Rescheduled by District Judge Matthew Sabaugh to July 22, such hearings include testimony to determine whether a criminal defendant should stand trial.

"I don't think he's a risk of flight (of prosecution). I don't think he's a risk to the community," defense attorney Stephen Rabaut told the judge shortly before Sabaugh set bond in the latest case at $100,000 cash or surety.

In the sexual assault case, Settlemoir already had been held in the Macomb County Jail in lieu of $1 million bond. He faces two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct — punishable by up to life in prison — and two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, a 15-year felony.

Police said previously that Settlemoir allegedly committed sexual penetration and other contact with the teenager, between Feb. 1 and June 4. He has no prior criminal record.

"We have to gather a lot of information," Rabaut told reporters outside the courtroom, adding that he had just been retained in the case Wednesday and had no further comment.

Molly Zappitell, the Macomb County assistant prosecutor on the case, declined to comment.

Meantime, detectives await the results of an examination of the contents of two laptop computers — one confiscated from the church and the other from Settlemoir's home on Girard Drive -- to determine whether additional charges could be filed against him. Those findings by the Macomb Area Computer Enforcement team may be provided to Warren police as early as today or possibly next week, Dwyer said.

Settlemoir, pastor for two years at the church located on Dequindre Road near 13 Mile, and also principal at Antioch Baptist Academy, is on leave from the church and school, police said. He has been married for two years and has an infant daughter, police said.

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