Former Minister Paroled after Child Sex Abuse Conviction
(KATV) Benton - A Benton music minister convicted of sexual indecency with children less than three years ago has been granted parole.
David Pierce isn't walking free just yet, and when he does there's a condition he has to move out of state.
A state representative wants to make sure the law that allowed his release is changed.
David Pierce worked at First Baptist Church for about 3-decades. He was beloved and looked up to by many members, but in 2009 men started coming forward with details of how pierce groomed them, some as young as 11. Starting with sexual talk, and then touching their bodies to measure their "growth progress" for choir. The men say it escalated as Pierce gained their trust.
In 2009, David Pierce didn't deny the allegations of sexual indecency with a minor. According to the Saline Courier, Channel Seven's partner, it took about three months for church officials to fire him. (To read an interview from one of the alleged victims, click on the link under the picture.)
According to police reports, Pierce didn't do much touching. He would expose himself and had the boys touch themselves. It happened anywhere he could get the boys alone, even here at the sanctuary, First Baptist Church.
At one point pierce faced 54 counts of sexual indecency with a child, but through a plea deal was only convicted on four counts representing three victims. He was to serve 10-years, but two years later he's been granted parole.
Arkansas Representative David Sanders says too many parolees re-offend, "The fact of the matter is his crime, the classification of his crime, sexual indecency with a minor has a provision that make it parole mandatory for him."
The time line isn't clear how long Pierce committed crimes on minors, but could date back 30-years.
Representative Sanders wants to change the language in the state code during the 2013 legislative session. In short, if you do the crime, you do the time. "The fact of the matter is public safety should be paramount in the minds of any policy maker and it certainly is in mine and several of my colleagues."
But it's not too far off from what the Arkansas Board of Parole wants. Chair, John Felts says during the legislative session, they will request to be able to pass judgment over all sex offense cases. He adds, "What our request is going to be is that we have the authority to deny parole on all sex offenses." Basically someone, like Pierce who is required to register as a sex offender could be denied parole.
Right now there are only three different crimes (1) a class Y rape (2) sexual assault first degree and (3) sexual assault second degree that are discretionary, meaning they're the only offenses that can be denied parole.
Pierce will be under parole supervision for the time remaining he hasn't served. Under strict guideline he could move back to the state