A Dallas County pastor is accused of the unthinkable; he's charged with four counts of second degree sexual assault involving minors. Reverend Ivory McDaniels,68, of Fordyce was released on bond Monday afternoon following his arrest Friday. Police say the alleged assaults involved teenage girls with whom McDaniels interacted while he worked as a substitute teacher at Fordyce High School. In one case, the actions reportedly began as early as 2009. Police opened the investigation following a call into the Child Abuse Hotline.
The allegations have rocked the city of Fordyce and have left the community divided: those who say they support Pastor McDaniels and those who are outraged by the accusations. The story is so controversial that those who did speak out about it only did so under the condition of anonymity.
One resident said, "It's sad and it's a disgrace to the community." Another had this reaction, "He's very known. I went to his church for almost a year. He deal(s) with all the kids. A lot of people looked up to him."
Those sentiments expressed by the few who would actually voice their disapproval of the alleged actions by Reverend McDaniels. Police say four girls, ages 14-15, told them that while McDaniels was working as a substitute, he touched them inappropriately.
The police report filed Friday indicated that one alleged victim said, "McDaniels grabbed her by her arm, pulled her in his lap, touching her." Another said, "McDaniels put his arms around her legs and started rubbing her legs up and down while he talked to her."
One of the anonymous residents had this reaction, "I hate that it happened to the young ladies that it happened to and I hope he does the right thing and just takes responsibility for his actions."
Those with whom our news crew spoke said they did not want to be identified because they have ties to Greenville Baptist Church where McDaniels is the pastor and where there apparently is an active youth program. "I have a baby who used to get on the van and if I ever knew that I would have never let her go," said one parent.
McDaniels was released Monday on $10,000 bond. "They say everybody is innocent until proven guilty but I wouldn't go back to that church, that's my opinion, I wouldn't go back and I wouldn't send my kids back," the parent added.
The alleged incidents reportedly occurred at school and not at church. Pastor McDaniels and his attorney were contacted by phone and declined to comment. Meanwhile police are asking any other alleged victims to also come forward.