Sex abuse charges filed against deacon HARFORD COUNTY

April 14, 1993|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,Staff Writer

A 52-year-old deacon is free on $50,000 bond after being charged Monday with sexually abusing three boys between 1975 and 1981 while serving at a Baptist church in Harford County.

Wayne Erskine Sisk, the suspect, remains an active member of the Oak Grove Baptist Church in Churchville but has not served as a teacher or in a leadership role since 1981, said the Rev. David A. Hall, pastor of the 1,200-member congregation, affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.

"Our prayers go out to the victims and suspect in this case," Mr. Hall said in a prepared statement. "We will do everything to cooperate with the authorities, and we stand ready to provide counseling to those who have suffered and other appropriate means of support."

The alleged victims, all 26, live in Bel Air, Forest Hill and Ann Arbor, Mich., police said. All were members at Oak Grove Baptist when the incidents allegedly happened on and off church property.

One of the alleged victims approached them last October, police said, and an initial interview led them to identify a second victim. Subsequent investigation led them to the third alleged victim.

Police said Mr. Sisk interacted socially with the victims and their families and is accused of seven specific incidents -- five counts of child abuse and two counts of a third-degree sexual offense.

Mr. Sisk was nominated and screened for the elected position of ordained deacon before beginning his ministry at Oak Grove Baptist in 1969, said Mr. Hall, who became pastor in December 1989. He added that church records give no reason Mr. Sisk ceased serving as a deacon in 1981.

Police said, however, that their investigation led to information that Mr. Sisk may have been asked to step down in 1981 after "suggestions of inappropriate behavior" surfaced.

Mr. Sisk, of the 1300 block of N. Fountain Green Road in Bel Air, has no previous arrests, investigators said.

Mr. Sisk, now employed by the Army Environmental Center, a unit at Aberdeen Proving Ground, was away on business when the Harford Grand Jury indicted him April 6.

He learned of the indictment and made arrangements to surrender to Harford deputies at the sheriff's office Monday afternoon. He was charged with child sexual abuse and sexual assault.

Detective Cpl. Edward Hopkins of the Harford Sheriff's Office said the investigation of Mr. Sisk is continuing and encouraged anyone with information to contact him at (410) 836-5429 or (410) 838-6600, Ext. 5429.

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