Trial to begin for accused pastor

CALIFORNIA, Mo. (ABP) — A Baptist pastor charged with sex crimes stands trial in early December in a county court in California, Mo. Travis Smith, pastor of First Baptist Church, Stover, Mo., faces felony charges of sodomy and statutory rape in a high-profile case that gained media attention after church members stood by the pastor acquitted of similar charges in 2011. Smith, 43, pastor of the church since 2006, stands accused of having inappropriate sexual contact with multiple females under 17, the age of legal consent in Missouri. Eighty potential jurors were summoned for jury selection, which is expected to get underway Dec. 3 with the trial anticipated to run Dec. 4–5.

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State Baptist newspaper serving Baptists in Alabama, providing information, inspiration and interpretation as well as challenging readers to serve and find opportunities for ministry that further the kingdom of God.
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