Well-known community leader and pastor Steve Dean turned himself in at the Randolph County Jail Tuesday on charges of sexual abuse of a child less than 12 years old, according to Roanoke Police Chief Adam Melton.

Dean, pastor of rapidly growing Community Life Church, said on Thursday: "My innocence will be proven and on the advice of my attorney I'm not at liberty to discuss this any more." He has retained John Tinney as his attorney.

The chief said the parents and alleged victim made a report at the Roanoke Police Department Saturday, April 23.

He declined to give the child's age or gender or state whether he or she is a member of Dean's church. The church, located on County Road 79, recently built a new building.

Police began an investigation, interviewing the victim and several witnesses, he said.

Tuesday, after discussions with the district attorney's office and the circuit clerk's office a warrant was issued for the arrest of Dean, 45, of 546 Lane Ave. and at 6 p.m. he turned himself in to the jail; posted a $25,000 bond and was released at 6:30.

Dean spoke at the Prayer Breakfast Thursday morning and was expected to be involved in the Prayer Chain on Main Street later in the day. He is one of the two people who signed the request for the permit to hold the chain in downtown Roanoke for the second year.

Sexual abuse is when a person subjects another person to sexual contact by force or someone incapable of consenting or when someone 16 years of age or older subjects a person under the age of 12 to sexual contact.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the members of the church and all the parties involved," Melton said.

"We need to let the criminal justice system do its job," Melton said. "I would certainly hope if there are any other victims or witnesses they need to contact the police department's investigations unit." They have not received any other complaints, he said.

Counseling is being made available to the child through the Department of Human Resources, he said.

The incident is alleged to have occurred at Dean's home. James Bailey and Lorenzo Foster are investigating the case.

"We did a thorough investigation, it is still ongoing, it is not concluded. Any new evidence of any nature will be considered. We acted on the district attorney's recommendation and the circuit clerk issued an arrest warrant based on probable cause," Melton said. It was not a decision made by Investigator Bailey or Investigator Foster, he said. This is something they all looked at, including the district attorney's office and the clerk's office, he added.

Assistant District Attorney Amy Newsome said Dean's attorney has not requested a preliminary hearing. He has 30 days from the day of arrest to ask for one.

This case is expected to be presented to the next grand jury, which is seated in August.

Upon conviction of sexual abuse a person faces a 2- to 20-year sentence.

(6) comments

oliver

just unreal[sad]

Christy Reaves

I really hate this for everyone involved. I do hope that Steve didn't do this but if so remember that when Jesus died on the cross he looked at the criminal that was on the other cross and told him that he would be with Jesus in paradise that day... Forgiveness is something that everyone needs to find in their heart whether innocent or guilty. Steve has helped my family in some really hard times and I have the upmost respect for him and I do believe that everyone should remember innocent until proven guilty and PLEASE pray for the child and the family of the child. Molestation is not an easy thing to live with and I applaud the family for going ahead and seeking therapy now instead of waiting. They are helping their child more than they realize doing that. I will be praying for everyone involved and the wonderful church that is in the threshold of this terrible matter.... GOD BLESS[sad]

Average_Joe

"My innocence will be proven and on the advice of my attorney I'm not at liberty to discuss this any more."

You may be innocent but warrants are not issued without probable cause. For someone to even bring forth these allegations is enough reason to believe you are doing things you shouldn't be. Thank you have a great day!

Hide your kids, hide your wife
- Antoine Dodson

larkinhuey

I beg to differ with Antoine. Probable cause doesn't mean that the allegations are true, it can mean a lot of things. It can mean that someone just might not like another person. When someone screams "child abuse," the accused is automatically guilty. Remember the McMartin Daycare Center a few years ago? Most of those kids are grown up now, and virtually all of them now say that nothing out of the ordinary went on there.

How about the JonBenet Ramsey family? Once again, when probable cause is established, the truth can easily get lost. You can't unpoint a finger and you can't unring a bell. Once a child accuses someone else of wrongdoing, that person is guilty until the day he dies, regarless of the truth. Even if the pastor is innocent and it's prove beyond any doubt, and even if the accuser says that she was lying, he will have that hovering over him as long as he lives. Look at Patsy Ramsey. She will always be the mother who murdered her daughter, truth be damned.

I don't have any inkling whether Steve Dean is guilty or innocent, and don't even know enough about it to offer an opinion. But I do know what Mr. Hammersmith said in The Green Mile, "Everyone is entitled to a defense." That includes Steve Dean. Can't we keep an open mind?

When OJ SImpson was on trial back in the 90s, I just KNEW he couldn't be guilty, not my hero. And when he was found not guilty, I felt vindicated. As time went by though, I realized that he would forever be known as OJ, the man who got away with it. Innocent, but still guilty. But that's the world we live in.

Ss_1979

Oh, Larkin - I get what you're saying. I understand that "probable cause doesn't mean that the allegations are true". It definitely CAN mean a lot of things - it can mean it's nothing or it can mean that an innocent child was exposed to sexual misconduct that he/she never should have been exposed to at a VERY young age by a person in a position of TRUST. A person who his/her family trusted with his/her safety and security. I know the individual in question well - I know all sides of him, and trust me - there are many. I can only pray this precious child clings strongly to GOD and his/her trust in HISword and doesn't allow the judgemental eyes of the world to tear the truth from his/her heart - because unfortunately, in a case such as this - the truth is known only by this child, Steve Dean, and our Lord... Justice WILL prevail, whether in this life or the next.
My prayers are with all the families involved. Our Lord is Faithful.

bdj1017

sure will be nice when this is all finally dealt with, secrets and lies uncovered and the truth is known by all, won't it? won't it be nice knowing justice has been served and another predator is out of our community and our children are a little safer?

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.