Former Memphis church staffer indicted with molesting two teenage boys
David L. Hale, 53, has been indicted on allegations of sexually molesting two teenage boys in separate instances at Sycamore View Church of Christ, according to a news release from Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich.
Hale is a former employee of the church. He was indicted by a federal grand jury on two felony counts of sexual battery by an authority figure for each incident.
“We were heartbroken to hear of the report when it came out," said the Rev. Jim Hinkle, executive minister at the church. "We took definitive action and have attempted to provide a safe environment for our families and especially our children.”
Hale was at the church from 2011 to 2019, working as a volunteer in sound and lighting and for the last two years as a paid employee securing doors during church services. He was banned from church property in February 2019 when the allegations came to light.
According to investigators, Hale offered to give a 13-year-old boy a massage while in the audio-visual area of the church during a service around January 2016 and rubbed his hand on the boy's penis.
The boy told a youth minister about the incident in 2019 and the case was reported to Child Protective Services.
Another incident was reported in early 2019 in which Hale allegedly gave a massage to a 17-year-old boy in a bathroom near the church gym, also rubbing his penis over his gym shorts.
Hinkle said the church has put additional precautionary measures in place since the two incidents, and that Hale, who was not on ministry staff or a full-time employee, was immediately barred from campus.
Memphis police and the FBI conducted the investigation.
The case is being handled by Assistant District Attorney Lessie Rainey of the District Attorney's special victims unit, which prosecutes cases of rape, physical and sexual abuse of children, elder abuse and vulnerable adult abuse.
Katherine Burgess covers county government and religion. She can be reached at [email protected], 901-529-2799 or followed on Twitter @kathsburgess.