Pastor charged with failure to report

From Local Sources

JASPER — Authorities have charged a man listed as a church pastor with failure to make a report after an investigation in which a Jasper man had previously been charged with child molestation and sexual battery.

The pastor, after allegedly being notified of past inappropriate touching of juveniles, is accused of not making contact with law enforcement or the Department of Child Services.

The Jasper Police Department conducted the investigation that resulted in May with Dexter L. Hensley, 61, 231 Hillside Drive, Jasper, being charged with multiple counts of child molesting and a count of sexual battery connected to the alleged inappropriate touching of juvenile females in the past.

Police report Hensley’s offenses are believed to have occurred three to five years ago at Jasper Apostolic United Pentecostal Church.

As a result of that investigation, police allegedly found that Howard W. Geck, 62, 4099 S. State Road 162, Huntingburg, was notified about the allegations approximately two years ago. Geck is identified in court documents as pastor at the church in question.

Court documents also indicate that Geck and a member of the victims’ family had met with Hensley to discuss the allegations. That family member advised police that Geck asked the victims if they wanted to move forward with reporting the incident and the victims did not, according to court documents.

By Indiana law, an individual who has reason to believe that a child is a victim of child abuse or neglect shall immediately make a report with the Department of Child Services and/or a local law enforcement agency. Authorities allege Geck failed to make such a report.

A misdemeanor count of failure to make a report was filed against Geck June 26 in Dubois Circuit Court. He has been sent a summons to appear in court for an initial hearing Tuesday.

In an attempt to encourage reporting of child abuse and to educate members of the public on their legal duty, the Dubois County Prosecutor’s Office is currently offering amnesty to anyone who has previously failed to report, regardless of how long ago the abuse may have occurred. The amnesty program runs until July 31.

In a media report announcing Geck’s charge, the prosecutor’s office and local law enforcement agencies reminded citizens of Dubois County “that we all have an obligation to report abuse and provide victims with the opportunity to receive services and to help prevent further abuse.”

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