MINGO COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A former youth leader at a church in Mingo County is facing sexual abuse charges.
West Virginia State Police say the suspect, 52-year-old Gary Adkins, is accused of inappropriately touching a 7-year-old female relative.
Adkins was charged Tuesday.
According to the criminal complaint, the 7-year-old told investigators Adkins had sexually abused her.
The complaint says the alleged activity took place at Adkins' home along Upper Sheppard Town Road in Delbarton during the summer of 2012.
The complaint says the girl's mother told investigators she had alarming changes in behavior, including asking frequently "if she is nasty on the inside and out" and repeatedly "asking God to forgive her of all her sins."
During the investigation, troopers talked with a 28-year-old female relative who said Adkins had also inappropriately touched her when she was about 7-10 years old.
The complaint also mentions an interview with the victim’s 13-year-old brother, in which he said he witnessed Adkins inappropriately touching his sister.
According to the complaint, Adkins faces three separate charges: two third-degree sexual abuse charges and sexual abuse by a parent, guardian, custodian or person in a position of trust of a child.
Adkins had been a minister at Parsley Bottom Freewill Baptist Church up until a few months ago and had earlier worked as a youth group leader there, church members say.
Members of the congregation say Adkins has an excellent reputation and find the allegations hard to believe.
"That's just not in his character," Jacqueline Parsley, who used to go to church with Adkins, said. "If the family will just be careful, be patient, the truth will come out, guilty or not."
Adkins is out of jail on bond.
His wife told WSAZ.com they would not be commenting, but she did say she believes her husband is innocent.
Investigators say if there are any more victims, they are urged to contact State Police.
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