Keenan Hord, a former Southern Baptist youth pastor and speaker in Arkansas, was arrested on August 24, 2022, and held on a $500,000 bond in the Benton County Jail. He’s now facing charges of second-degree sexual assault, possessing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child, and sexual indecency with a minor. Authorities say Hord could have more than 30 victims.
According to media reports, Hord, 32, joined First Baptist Bentonville in 2016 and became a student pastor in 2018. The Bentonville Police Department received a tip through the Arkansas State Police child abuse hotline on Aug. 19. Officers then searched Hord’s residence on Aug. 24 in order to seize electronic devices, according to Bentonville Detective James Boothman. Hord’s wife later told police that her husband hadn’t returned after leaving the house.
Police said they identified up to 30 children who were allegedly abused by Hord, and they have already spoken to six of the boys. A detective told a judge that Hord had inappropriate contact with a 15-year-old, and investigators also said they examined one boy’s cellphone and found more than 5,000 messages exchanged with Hord. Police found a video of a boy recorded in a restroom on Hord’s phone. Hord was taken into custody after police learned that he was at Walmart in Fayetteville, Arkansas, buying a Tracfone. Hord remains jailed on a $500,000 bond.
A statement was released by First Baptist Bentonville, claiming he was no longer an employee when the light was shed.
“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 stated in the statement. “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.”
Hord also worked at Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tennessee, from 2011 to 2016, first serving as an intern before becoming a student pastor of Bellevue’s Arlington, Tennessee, campus in 2014. He also was a speaker at youth events for numerous churches around the country, including a camp hosted by the FBC Texarkana Student Ministry.
Hord is just one of many authority figures to face charges this year for having inappropriate actions with a minor. This is every parent’s worst nightmare. Parents should feel confident that their children are safe with church officials and trust that their children will be cared for and protected from harm.
Attorney Adam Horowitz has substantial experience representing victims of sexual abuse in the church. If you have been a victim of sexual misconduct by Keenan Hord or have any knowledge about such events at First Baptist Church in Arkansas, please contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or e-mail sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz today at [email protected]