JPD report reveals more allegations against children's pastor

JPD report reveals more allegations against children's pastor
Waller walking to a courtroom in May 2015 (Source: KAIT)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A Jonesboro Police Department report revealed more misconduct allegations against Tony Waller that date back to November 1999.

The report, filed with JPD in April 2000, states an 11-year-old girl could have been the victim of sexual abuse.

Waller, the former children's pastor at Jonesboro First Assembly of God, was not arrested or charged based on this report, but a detailed investigation showed he was asked to leave a school he had been visiting.

The report states Waller met an 11-year-old girl at CitiTeam Ministries Center, now known as CityYouth Ministries.

Police said Waller began a friendship with the girl's family, coming to their home and the girl and her siblings spending the night at his home.

The girl's mother became concerned and went to police after her daughter fought someone at school and her grades dropped.

The report states the mother thought this could be related to what she said was Waller's "recent strange behavior."

The mother told police she first caught onto Waller's strange behavior when he picked up her older children from CitiTeam without asking or telling anyone. She said she was alarmed by Waller's actions, but "he said he was a preacher so she dismissed the initial fear and allowed the kids to go places with him again."

However, according to the report, the strange behavior continued, including Waller showing up to their home and the kids' school more frequently.

The report stated Waller would go to the girl's home three to four days a week around 10 p.m.

The mother told police this ritual got so out of hand that she posted a sign on her door saying, "No one should knock after 9:30 p.m."

The report also states Waller once kept the 11 year old out on a school night until 1 a.m.

The girl's brother also told police during one of their sleepovers at Waller's home, his sister told him she awoke to find Waller leaning over her. When she stirred, Waller jumped back on the couch and pretended to be asleep.

The report shows the 11 year old denied ever saying that and told police Waller did not make her feel uncomfortable.

According to police, the young girl did say Waller took her to several places and bought clothing for her. 

Through this investigation, it was ultimately decided that Waller would not return to the kids' school again. Police advised Waller's church, Jonesboro First Assembly, of that in April 2000. 

Matt Smith, the current senior pastor at Jonesboro First Assembly, told Region 8 News his predecessor never alerted them to the police visit so they did not know anything about these allegations. 

CityYouth Ministries also said they did not know anything about these allegations.

Smith said the church ran background checks on Waller every year since he worked with children and they always checked out.

In a separate JPD case, Waller was charged with computer child porn several weeks ago, after his wife found thousands of files on a computer they shared.

Since then, First Assembly fired him and he resigned from his school bus driver position at Jonesboro Public Schools.

Waller is set to appear in court on those child porn charges June 29.

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