Officials with the Marion County Sheriff’s Department say 33 year old Christopher Ryan Conner of Whitwell was arrested last week on charges of sexual battery by an authority figure and statutory rape by an authority figure.
According to the sheriff’s office, on July 18th a 16-year old girl reported she had been raped. She originally described the rape has having taken place in the parking lot at Whitwell High School, however the school’s video surveillance system did not match the girl’s story. In a later interview the girl is said the incident had taken place at Conner’s Whitwell home instead.
Conner was taken into custody by deputies on Saturday, July 21, and charged with 2 counts of statutory rape. He is still in the jail, being held on a $150,000 bond.
Previous reports have stated that Connor was a Youth Pastor and Leader at First Baptist Church in Whitwell, however church officials have said that while he is a member of the church, he is not a member of the church staff, nor has he been.
Conner’s role at this church or at any church could relate directly to the charges against him.
Marion County Detective Beth Schindel, who is in charge of the case, said investigators are checking for records of past contact, such as texting via telephone, which may have taken place prior to the incident.
Conner is being held on a $150,000 bond at the Marion County jail and will have his first appearance in court next week.
Detectives handling the case ask that anyone with information about this case, or any similar activities, to call the Marion County Sheriff’s Department at (423)942-2525.