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Tag: Keenan Hord

Black Collar Crime: Southern Baptist Youth Pastor Keenan Hord Pleads Guilty, Sentenced to Sixty Years in Prison for Sex Crimes

keenan hord

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Keenan Hord, a youth pastor at First Baptist Church in Bentonville, Arkansas, pleaded guilty to thirteen sex-related crimes involving children and was sentenced to sixty years in prison. First Baptist is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.

The Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports:

A former youth minister pleaded guilty Friday to 13 sex-related crimes involving children and was sentenced to 60 years in prison.

Keenan Hord, 33, of Centerton worked for First Baptist Church in Bentonville before he was arrested Aug. 24.

Hord accepted a plea deal. A jury trial in his case had been scheduled to begin March 7.

One of Hord’s victims gave a victim impact statement at Friday’s hearing. The mothers of four other victims also gave impact statements.

Benton County Circuit Judge Brad Karren ordered Hord to register as a sex offender and not to have contact with any of the victims or any children.

Hord will be eligible for parole in 15 years.

Bentonville police received a tip through the Arkansas State Police child abuse hotline Aug. 19, according to a news release from the Bentonville Police Department. James Boothman, a Bentonville detective, testified at Hord’s August bond hearing police served a search warrant and seized several electronic devices. Boothman said police had spoken to six victims and identified up to 30 possible victims with an examination of Hord’s cellphone.

Bentonville police Sgt. Josh Woodhams testified at the bond hearing he examined a cellphone belonging to one of the boys that revealed a romantic and sexual relationship between Hord and the boy. He said there were 5,000 conversations on the phone between Hord and the boy. Woodhams said police located a half-million text messages on the phone. As many as 30 boys had conversations with Hord, Woodhams said.

Hord has served on the staffs of at least two Southern Baptist churches, most recently First Baptist Bentonville, where he joined the staff in 2016 and became student pastor in 2018, according to Baptist Press, the news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.

In 2022, Baptist Press reported:

Keenan Hord, 32, was arrested Thursday (Aug. 25) for sexual indecency with a child. Hord has served on the staffs of at least two Southern Baptist churches, most recently First Baptist Bentonville, where he joined the staff in 2016 and became student pastor in 2018. The church said in a statement Friday (Aug. 26) that the allegations came after Hord’s employment there had ended.

A warrant for his arrest was issued Tuesday (Aug. 23) after First Baptist Bentonville made a report Aug. 19 to the Arkansas State Police child abuse hotline.

Investigators believe there could be up to 30 or more victims, according to KTHV-TV.

“We have been devastated to learn that a former employee of our church has been credibly accused of abusing adolescents during his tenure at our church.,” First Baptist Bentonville said in a statement to Baptist Press. “While these accusations did not come to light until after his employment ended, when we learned of them we immediately contacted our local authorities, made a report to the Arkansas Child Abuse Hotline, and continue to fully support the ongoing law enforcement investigation.”

40/29 added at the time:

A former youth pastor was arrested on a charge of sexual indecency with a child in a case related to his time as a youth pastor at a Bentonville church, according to Nathan Smith, Benton County prosecutor.

Keenan Hord was arrested Thursday night and has been booked into the Benton County Detention Center. He is facing charges that include sexual assault and possessing sexually explicit material involving a child.

A judge set a cash bond of $500,000 in the case.

During the bond hearing, county prosecutors said there are potentially more than thirty victims.

Hord worked as a youth pastor at First Baptist Church Bentonville, Smith said. The church contacted the child abuse hotline immediately upon learning of allegations against Hord.

A detective told a judge Hord had inappropriate contact with a 15-year-old. He said law enforcement found more than 5,000 text messages between Hord and one victim.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Bruce Gerencser