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Georgia deacon charged with many counts of child sexual abuse

Editor’s Note: Baptist Press will report every instance of sexual abuse related to Southern Baptist churches, entities, institutions or leaders of which we are made aware.

SYLVESTER, Ga. (BP) – Jerry Dan Heflin was arrested May 7 and charged with more than 60 felony counts, including child molestation, aggravated sodomy, sexual battery against a child and incest.

The charges stem from a 2016 incident, WALB News reported.

Heflin, 60, was a deacon at Unity Baptist Church in the South Georgia town of Sylvester. Church leadership released a statement May 10:

“Due to the recent headlines and social media comments inferring that the criminal charges involving Mr. Jerry Heflin occurred at Unity Baptist Church, our church feels compelled to respond. We have great confidence that our judicial system has investigated the facts surrounding these charges and that the judicial system will handle the matter in an appropriate manner. Our church has internal security measures in place that ensure the safety of all persons including both children and adults. We are confident that none of the allegations made in this matter occurred at the church or at any church-related activity. Any comment or insinuation by the media or any social media posts that indicate otherwise is false and incorrect. Please continue to pray for all parties involved as this matter continues to be investigated by law enforcement.”

Heflin was denied bond and is being held in the Worth County Jail.

If you are/have been a victim of sexual abuse or suspect sexual abuse by a pastor, staff member or member of a Southern Baptist church or entity, please reach out for help at 202-864-5578 or [email protected]. All calls are confidential.

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