ROCK STAND - A respected county minister was arrested on Thursday evening and charged with rape and other sexual offenses.
According to Randolph County Sheriff's Office, the Rev. Robert Stanley Daniel, 59, of 2509 County Rd. 87, Roanoke, is charged with rape in the first degree, sodomy in the first degree and 18 misdemeanor charges of distributing obscene material to a minor.
Daniel is pastor of El-Bethel Baptist Church on U.S. 431 near Rock Stand and administrator of the Pearls of Promise Girls Academy, a ministry of the church.
According to Randolph County Sheriff Jeff Fuller, a minor student at the school is the alleged victim, and the crime is said to have happened at the school. The pornographic material consisted of still photographs of adults, not minors.
Bond was set at $75,000 each for the rape and sodomy charges and $5,000 for each misdemeanor charge, for a total of $240,000. Daniel bonded out of jail on Friday.
Fuller said on Friday morning that he expected the Department of Human Resources would intervene in the care of the girls who are residents of the school; however, Tammie Harkness of the Department of Human Resources said she is not allowed to comment on that because of confidentiality. This week, investigator Jimmy Holmes said it is his understanding that after DHR stepped in, the girls at the school were taken back home to their families.
According to the school's website, Pearls of Promise Girls Academy was founded in 2004 "as a refuge for abused, abandoned, troubled girls, ages 10-18. Our purpose is to share love in an accepting environment, then to empower each girl to succeed by developing a health sense of self-worth. In order to complete the process, we provide Bible-based counseling, recovery from the painful past and advancement to a healthy independence equipped to succeed in the future." That website, which contained photos of Daniel with several girls, all wearing long skirts, was apparently taken off the internet over the weekend.
The Randolph Leader was unable to get through to anyone at the school because the telephone lines were busy throughout the afternoon on Friday when the story broke, so a request for information and comments was sent via e-mail to the school, but the Leader had received no response by press time on Tuesday. A message from the Leader was later left on the school's answering machine, the greeting on which was still the voice of Daniel.
Roanoke Police Chief Adam Melton said that investigators from his department assisted RCSO in their search of the school. Melton said, "I feel sorry for the children who attended the school and for the people who go to that church. They need our prayers."
The Alabama Bureau of Investigation is also assisting Randolph County Sheriff's Office in the investigation.