A case involving an associate pastor and substitute van driver for Focus Church in Lewisburg has gotten bigger with the discovery of three additional victims who claim Clarence Willie White sexually assaulted them.

White, 60, was indicted by a Logan County Grand Jury in April for subjecting a 12, 14 and 16-year old to sexual contact between November and December 2017. The incidents allegedly occurred while transporting children to and from the church.

The three additional potential victims emerged after the News-Democrat & Leader posted a story on its Facebook page about Mr. White's charges, with posts claiming they too had been touched by White.

The ND&L reached out to these women who gave their accounts involving White. Their stories will appear in an upcoming edition of the ND&L.

Focus Church pastor Garry Mitchell appeared in front of Logan Circuit Judge Tyler Gill as a character witness for White in hopes to change the $10,000 cash bond to a surety bond which only requires a signature. The request by White's attorney Stewart Wheeler was declined after Mitchell spoke, with Gill asking Mitchell if he knew the past conviction of White, along with the more recent charges.

White was also charged and convicted in 1980 in Todd County for raping a 15-year-old female. He was charged with first-degree rape and pled guilty to the lesser charge of third-degree rape.

Mitchell had told Judge Gill he and the other church members did not feel threatened by White.

When asked by Gill if Mitchell and the other members of Focus Church wanted Mr. White back in the church, Mitchell answered, "Yes, we have no issue with him."

The judge further asked Mitchell if White got out on bond would he allow him to be around underage girls.

"Yes, and the women of our church," said Mitchell at the bond hearing. "He has proven to be a Godly man or I wouldn't be standing here saying these things and I wouldn't be putting my reputation on the line."

Asked if the church would allow the alleged victims to come back to the church by acting Commonwealth Attorney Justin Crocker at the bond hearing, Mitchell responded that only one of the alleged victims made an attempt to come back to the church multiple times and he asked the girl's father if they didn't mind staying away until it worked itself out because of her accusations against White.

"We asked them until things were worked out not to be involved with us," said Mitchell to the judge.

White's wife bailed him out of the Logan County Detention Center May 18.

Soon after the ND&L spoke with the three additional alleged victims found on Facebook, the newspaper contacted Mitchell via email to inform him of the new information and to ask if he and the church had changed their stance on White, which Mitchell detailed in court.

Mitchell released a statement to the ND&L on behalf of the church's leadership team and also posted that statement on the Focus Church Facebook page.

Mitchell asked the ND&L to publish the statement in its entirety and "not to change it in any way that includes editing and or deletions without an agreement between (the NDL) and our church leadership first. If you agree, then you will publish this written statement separate from any other articles relating to this issue."

The ND&L explained to White through email there were a few claims within the official statement that were not mentioned at the bond hearing and appeared to be contradictory. One included the church asking White to step down from any contact with the children and youth ministry, removing him from any leadership role he had with the church children and youth six months before the case came out to the public. This was never brought up at the hearing and questioning by the judge.

Mitchell said the church leadership team had decided they no longer wished for the statement to be printed by the ND&L and wished to listen to the scripture "stand still and see the salvation of the Lord." However, the statement still appears to the public on the Focus Facebook page.

The following is the statement from Focus Church in its entirety with no editing:

From Our View Point

Response to Accusations

"Let me begin by saying we made a mistake that you would understand our intentions as a community of faith at Focus Church concerning our stand with Clarence White. We need your help to see and understand our decision to support someone accused of such a terrible thing.

"At the time Lead Pastor Garry appeared in court on behalf of Clarence White. Our ministry had already been dealing with the accusations close to six months. During that period of time, we had implemented safeguards for those who attended each week. We ask Clarence to step down from any contact with the children and youth ministry, removing him from any leadership role he had with our children and youth. After the accusations he was removed from all activities related to children and youth including if he was to be a substitute van driver with his wife.

"Our next course of action was to immediately follow up by asking parents, children and youth if there was any behavior that was a threat to their well being. The answer we got was an absolute 'no.' Even though we got that answer we continued to monitor the activity of our children and youth ministry.

"Our church defines itself as 'a church without walls.' It is not our nature to ban anyone who desires to attend our services and ministries, nor have we ever placed a banned on anyone. Our desire is to offer Jesus, His salvation, healing and deliverance. We offer an open door policy and we open our hearts to anyone who seeks Jesus and a new life in God.

"Lets make this clear, we did NOT use any money given in our church for ministries to be use to bail anyone out of jail including Clarence White. We understand the true purpose of tithes and offerings they are intended for the building the Kingdom of God.

"Since Clarence posted bail FOCUS church leadership, Clarence and his lawyer have agreed that he would not return to FOCUS church, or any activity or event until the matter of the accusations would be settled once and for all.

"Our decision as a church to support Clarence White was decided on the basis that no proven evidence had been given to justify the accusations. These accusations had not been proven at the time of Pastor Garry's courtroom appearance. Believing everyone should be treated without judgement we stand with him until proven guilty. If he is proven guilty, then we fully expect judgement and accountability. But like anyone else we will be redemptive and offer forgiveness of God in Jesus name to any person."