- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 30, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A former Arkansas prison chaplain arrested last month on suspicion of sexually assaulting three female inmates was in Jackson County jail Wednesday night after a judge ordered his bond revoked.

Prosecuting Attorney Henry Boyce issued a statement Wednesday saying 67-year-old Kenneth Dewitt had been arrested Tuesday by sheriff’s deputies from Woodruff County and Jackson County on an allegation of domestic abuse. A Jackson County District Court Judge found probable cause to issue a warrant for Dewitt to be brought to Jackson County for the hearing, according to court documents.

A message left late Wednesday with the Woodruff County prosecuting attorney’s office was not immediately returned, and it was unclear whether criminal charges had been filed against Dewitt in that county related to the Dec. 24 alleged domestic abuse incident. The request to revoke bond included photos of bruises and injuries, but did not include written details or testimony regarding the allegation of abuse.

Jeff Rosenzweig, an attorney representing Dewitt, said he became aware of the warrant Tuesday.

“I found out about it late yesterday, but the documents they sent me were incomplete. They promised to rectify that, but have not yet done so,” he said.



The earlier charges against Dewitt stem from an investigation into allegations that he coerced three inmates into having scheduled weekly sexual encounters, saying no one would believe them if they tried to tell or end the relationships. The inmates at the women’s prison in Newport, 90 miles northeast of Little Rock, said Dewitt would make them sit in a chair in front of his office door during the early morning sexual encounters so he could watch to see if any guards were approaching.

He turned himself in earlier this month to face the 50 counts of sexual assault and was released on $30,000 bond.

A Newport District Court clerk said Dewitt would likely have a hearing Thursday because court was closed for New Year’s Day Friday.

Dewitt founded the non-denominational faith-based program called Principles and Applications for Life at McPherson in 1998. He previously ministered at several Baptist churches.

According to Arkansas Department of Correction employment records obtained by The Associated Press, Dewitt resigned in September 2014 after admitting to having sexual contact with a subordinate in the chaplain’s office, against department rules. Records said he chose to resign rather than face disciplinary action.

Two inmates came forward in December 2014 alleging that they had long-term sexual relationships with Dewitt. The Department of Correction contacted the State Police, which launched an investigation. A third inmate told investigators she was also coerced into a sexual relationship with the pastor.

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