Digital Exclusive: Man charged with sexual assault of minors at Luzerne County church

Digital Exclusive

HUNLOCK TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Richard Garnett of Hunlock Creek was charged for sexually assaulting an underage child according to state police. The alleged sexual assault happened from 2004 to 2006.

“Richard Garnett was a volunteer at the Roaring Brook Baptist Church in Hunlock Creek and he worked in the activities in the AWANA club,” Master Trooper Deanna Piekanski, PIO of PSP Wilkes-Barre, said.

The victim told police he was in first or second grade when the assaults occurred. According to the affidavit there were at least three separate occasions when he was assaulted while at Roaring Brook Baptist Church.

The victim believed the man sexually assaulting him was a pastor at the church. The affidavit says the man would take the underage boy down to the basement of the church.

During one of the incidents, the man allegedly told the victim that “God would want (the victim) to do this” and was told not to tell anyone else what happened. The victim identified the man to police that looked like Richard Garnett as the man who assaulted him.

Although there are no charges filed, officials believe Garnett assaulted another man who was 12 years old at time of the assault. This man, known as the second witness, told police Garnett would ask him to remove his clothes, whisper to him, and touch him.

Garnett was charged last August for assaulting two children under the age of 10, between 1980 and 1984. Police believe there are more victims.

Garnett’s bail was set to $250,000 on Tuesday. His preliminary hearing is set for April 13.

PSP Shickshinny is now asking other victims to come forward.

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