Men arraigned on charges of molestation

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Watkins pleads not guilty; Bell's case goes to grand jury

By Lisa King

Two men charged in two different cases of sexual abuse involving a minor child have been arraigned.


Anthony Watkins, 37, of Waddy was arraigned Wednesday in Shelby Circuit Court, and James  Bell, 47, of Shelbyville was arraigned last week.

Watkins entered a plea of not guilty on four counts of first-degree sexual abuse. He was arrested after admitting to police that on four separate occasions, he touched  a 6-year-old on her genital area. According to the arrest report, Watkins said he committed the offense four times between July and November of last year.

First degree sexual abusive is a Class C felony, punishable by a prison sentence of 5 to 10 years in prison.

Watkins' next scheduled court date is Feb. 16 when he will appear in circuit court for a pretrial hearing.

Bell, pastor of Refuge Temple Church of God in Christ in Shelbyville, was charged with third-degree sodomy, second-degree sexual abuse and first-degree wanton endangerment after confessing to police that he had unprotected deviant sex with a 15-year-old knowing that he was HIV positive. His case has been waived to the grand jury.

Both Bell and Watkins have declined requests for interviews.

Watkins' court-appointed attorney, public defender Shelly Brown of Oldham County, said she had no comment on his case.

Bell has not yet been assigned a public defender, according to the Shelby County Commonwealth Attorney's office.

Bell's case came to light when Kentucky State Police Trooper Ron Turley received a call from Shelby County Detention Center officials who told him that Bell had come to the detention center of his own free will to “confess to some crimes that he had committed,” according to court records.

Bell told KSP trooper Steve Spurlock that he had had sexual encounters with a juvenile on multiple occasions in the summer of 2007 and that the encounters had occurred in Logan and Shelby Counties.

Third-degree sodomy is a Class D felony, punishable by a prison sentence of 1-5 years. Turley said further charges could be forthcoming from Logan County, but so far, none have been received.

Both Bell and Watkins are lodged in the Shelby County Detention Center under $50,000 full-cash bonds.

Jailer Bobby Waits said that Bell has been placed in solitary confinement for his own protection at the detention center.