BY LEANN DILBECK –
Michael W. Laws, age 28, of Mena has been arraigned on Sexual Assault in the First Degree, a Class A Felony, this week in Polk County Circuit Court.
Laws is accused of on several occasions beginning September 27, 2013 and continuing until September 25, 2014 of engaging in multiple acts of both deviate sexual activity and sexual intercourse with a minor female, who was not his spouse, and over whom he had a position of trust or authority, specifically as a church leader at The Crossing Church, constituting a Class A Felony.
The Crossing’s Pastor Victor Rowell told The Pulse, “Because the students of this community have been the focus of my life for the last 30 years and the focus of the Church for over the last 10, this situation breaks my heart.
“First and foremost, we are praying for everyone that is involved. Children are a priority to us and child safety is of the utmost importance. We go out of the way to provide a safe environment with background checks and safety training with all who work with students.
“Michael was not a paid staff member at the church. He was a volunteer but when the situation was discovered, he was removed as we do hold those working with students to a high standard. We have been and will continue to work with the authorities, but because it is an open case, I am not at liberty to discuss any further details.”
Laws entered a “not guilty” plea and has been released on a $10,000 bond. The file in the case has been sealed. The trial is set for June 25, 2015. All defendants are to be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.