Well-known Allendale pastor jailed on child molestation charge

Bobby Jones (WRDW-TV / Background: MGN Online)

Bobby Jones (WRDW-TV / Background: MGN Online)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, April 2, 2013

ALLENDALE, S.C. (WRDW) -- Bishop Pastor Bobby Jones Sr. is accused of criminal sexual conduct with a 14-year-old.

"The magistrate judge issued a bond this morning of $50,000 surety bond," said Lt. Steven Robinson with the Allendale County Sheriff's Office.

Robinson says Allendale County Magistrate Judge John Chaney told Bishop Jones he can't have contact with anyone 18 years old or younger without supervision.

On Tuesday afternoon, things were quiet outside his church on Oswald Drive, the New Life House of Love, but the news of his arrest is quickly spreading.

"The initial report came into a resource officer at the school, and he notified the sheriff," Robinson said. "The sheriff went over and decided that he would contact [the State Law Enforcement Division]."

A SLED warrant says Jones committed the sex act back in January in the second degree, which by South Carolina law, means the victim was threatened into committing or partaking in the sex act.

"Bishop Bobby Jones is well known and well respected in the community. He's lived here all his life. As a matter of fact, he and I went to school together," Robinson said.

The bishop's online biography is extensive. It says he's worked in Blackville, Millen and in his home of Allendale for 30 years. He was chair of First Steps, a program that prepares young children for school. He serves on a regional transition board with the Department of Juvenile Justice. He even gets S.C. DJJ money, taxpayer dollars, to mentor students after school.

His website reads: "Bishop Bobby Jones Sr. has dedicated his life to the youth of the low country." Now, the alleged molestation of a youth has landed the pastor behind bars.

Jones bonded out sometime Tuesday afternoon, but News 12 could not reach the pastor for comment before deadline.

News 12 asked the DJJ about the fate of the after-school program, but a representative of the state agency told News 12 that the DJJ is just one donor, so they can't make the decision to shut it down. However, the DJJ is aware of the situation and will be working with the Allendale County Sheriff's Office for an answer.

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