By Bob Allen
A Southern Baptist music minister remains in custody after his Oct. 16 arrest by the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force in LaGrange, Ky.
Howard Key Chambers, 62, minister of music at DeHaven Baptist Church in La Grange, Ky., was denied bail Oct. 22 in U.S. District Court. According to local media Magistrate Judge James D. Moyer denied a motion to release Chambers on $50,000 bond on home incarceration in part because of his history of working in the church.
“All this looks, frankly, like the fox inside the chicken coop,” Moyer said, according to Louisville television station WDRB.
Chambers, who goes by his middle name of “Key,” was booked into the Oldham County Jail on unspecified federal charges described in an FBI press release as “related to the sexual exploitation of children.”
At last week’s hearing in Louisville, prosecutors claimed Chambers posted an ad describing a sex fantasy on Craigslist, and through it met a man who offered to let him pay to have sex with his 10-year-old daughter. Chambers allegedly engaged in sex acts with the girl, now 11, seven or eight times during the past year, paying $100 to $200 to the father in exchange.
In a recorded interview, Chambers told investigators he kept returning because he feared the father would tell police what he had done. The father also faces federal charges, but he is not being identified out of concern for the child.
Members of DeHaven Baptist Church said the allegations against Chambers don’t match the man they know.
“This kind of thing just really took the wind out of us,” church member Gary Rawlings told WDRB. Rawlings said he usually ate dinner with Chambers at the church on Wednesday night. “Really a fine, fine fellow,” he said, “was doing a great job as a music minister.”
DeHaven Baptist Church is affiliated locally with Oldham-Trimble Baptist Association and nationally with the Southern Baptist Convention. The current pastor, Ross Bauscher, formerly worked for the Kentucky Baptist Convention as evangelism growth team leader. He stepped down after 11 years, along with 22 other full-time and four part-time employees who accepted incentive packages to resign or retire in anticipation of a staff downsizing in 2012.