Bond denied to man accused of molesting girls at church functions

By: Stephanie Baker
By: Stephanie Baker

A man is behind bars after a judge denies his bond.

He's accused of inappropriately touching young girls at church functions.

The bond hearing happened late Monday afternoon at the detention center.

The judge denied bond because he said Duncan was a threat to society.

It comes as a surprise to people who lived near the church... Who can't believe this happened in their hometown.

"People who care." It's the first thing drivers read on their way into the small town of New Ellenton.

"I think it's very surprising in the community for someone to do something like that," says resident Allen Rushing. He lives down the street from Foreman Memorial Baptist Church.

That's where 21-year-old James Albert Duncan, Jr. allegedly touched two 13-year-old girls in 2005: one in March, the other in November.

Lt. Michael Frank says one of the incidents may have happened at an overnight church lock in.

"These incidents are embarrassing to the victims and their families," Lt. Frank says.

Frank says there may have been others.

Duncan was arrested by the Aiken County Sheriff's Office in 2004 for sexual misconduct, but he never had to register as a sex offender like the law usually requires for this type of crime.

He made a deal with the court and went through rehabilitation instead.

"That's really surprising," Rushing says.

Rushing's neighbor Bernice Bryant shares his surprise.

She says the felony charges are out of character for church events: a place that hands out information against sin.

"They were all really nice people," she says.

Nice people according to Bryant, but the reports of a 21 year old touching 13-year-old girls don't sit well with Rushing.

"People need to keep their eyes open on what's going on," Rushing says.

Because allegations like this can happen anywhere...even in a small town with people who care.

The next appearance in court is May 22.

One of the victims' family members came to ask the judge to deny bond.

We tried to get in touch with Jim Duncan, the church's lead pastor, but he was not available for comment.

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