A local pastor accused of sexual misconduct with former members of his church youth group was released on bond Monday for the second time this month.
David Farren, 41, was released from the Miller County jail Monday afternoon after posting a $15,000 bond on a felony charge of second-degree sexual assault and a misdemeanor charge of violating mandatory reporting requirements. Farren stood before District Judge Wren Autrey with Texarkana lawyer Jason Horton in a courtroom at the Miller County jail.
At the time of Farren's arrest on those charges Friday, he was free on a $25,000 bond posted Aug. 4, the day after he was arrested on three counts of felony first-degree sexual assault. Those charges involve a girl who was 16 and 17 when she was a member of a youth group Farren headed in 2013, according to an earlier press release from Texarkana, Ark., police.
The newest sexual assault charge involves a different victim.
Farren serves as lead pastor of Anchor Church in Texarkana. At a hearing Aug. 4, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Connie Mitchell said Farren has worked as pastor and youth director at other area churches, including Heritage Baptist Church, Trinity Baptist Church and Faith Church. Mitchell also said at the hearing that she expected Farren to face additional charges involving other alleged victims.
Members of the clergy, educators, and medical personnel, for example, are considered "mandatory reporters" under the law. That means if they acquire knowledge that a child may have been sexually or physically abused, they are obligated to report it to authorities or face a criminal charge. Farren is accused of violating the mandatory reporting law and would face up to a year in the county jail if convicted.
Farren would face six to 30 years on each of the three first-degree sexual assault charges if convicted. Second-degree sexual assault is punishable by five to 20 years.
Farren is scheduled to return to court today. He has not been formally arraigned on any of the charges.