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Court Documents: Minister Accused Of Sexual Assault, Told Victim “God Wants This”

POPE COUNTY (KFSM) – An Arkansas youth minister was arrested for the second time in 2015 and accused of sexually assaulting a college student, telling her...
Neeley Mug

POPE COUNTY (KFSM) – An Arkansas youth minister was arrested for the second time in 2015 and accused of sexually assaulting a college student, telling her “God wants this,” authorities say.

Jonathan Neeley, of Nashville, Ark. (formerly of Russellville) surrendered himself to authorities on Friday (July 10) after learning of the warrant for his arrest, according to the River Valley Leader.

Court documents state that between July 1, 2012, and June 30, 2013, Neeley sexually assaulted an intern working directly for him at a student center near the Arkansas Tech University campus.

The victim told authorities that during the time they worked together, Neeley began to ask her about her “past experiences with boys” and making comments about how beautiful she was, according to court documents.

She said their relationship became physical, and it happened nearly every time they were together, court documents state.

During counseling sessions with Neeley, the victim confessed that she was concerned about committing adultery, and he told her “God wants this,” according to court documents.

Neeley told the victim that they had not been caught because their activities were something that God wanted, authorities said.

Court documents also state that Neeley later confessed to having sex with the victim.

The suspect appeared before District Court Judge Don Bourne on Friday. His bond was set at $25,000, according to the River Valley Leader.

He faces four charges of third-degree sexual assault, in which a member of the clergy uses their authority over a victim in a position of trust to engage in “sexual deviate activity,” according to court documents.

The River Valley Leader reported that his next hearing is scheduled for Aug. 3.

Neeley was previously arrested in February on suspicion of first-degree sexual assault in Howard County.

In August 2014, a report was filed by multiple women regarding sexual abuse by a youth minister at the Mineral Springs Church of Christ, deputies said. That youth minister was identified as Neeley, according to a news release from the Howard County Sheriff’s Office.

Three women filed the report (one was 17, and the other two were 18 at the time of the incidents in question), the release states. All three victims said that the incidents took place primarily at the residence of Neeley in Nashville, according to deputies.

Nashville police officers interviewed Neeley in Illinois, and he was subsequently arrested afterward, the release states. Neeley was extradited back to Arkansas, given a $100,000 bond and later bonded out of the Howard County Detention Center.