HUNLOCK TOWNSHIP MAN ARRESTED ON CHILD SEX OFFENSES
March 30, 2021
SHICKSHINNY — A Hunlock Township man awaiting sentencing after admitting he sexually assaulted two girls nearly 40 years ago was arrested Tuesday on allegations he sexually abused a boy inside Roaring Brook Baptist Church.
Richard Garnett, 68, of Roaring Brook Drive, is accused of sexually assaulting a boy while he was a games director volunteer during AWANA classes inside the church, according to court records.
State police allege the assaults occurred between 2004 and 2006 in the basement of the church while other children participated in AWANA activities on the upper floor.
Garnett was initially arrested Aug. 19, 2020, by state police on charges he sexually assaulted two girls between 1980 and 1984. He pleaded guilty to separate counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse on March 1 and is scheduled to be sentenced June 17.
Garnett was released Oct. 13 when he posted $50,000 bail following his first arrest.
Garnett found himself back at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility Tuesday when he was unable to post $250,000 bail imposed by District Judge Matthew C. Christopher in Shickshinny, who arraigned him on charges of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, statutory sexual assault, endangering the welfare of children, indecent assault and corruption of minors.
“I’m innocent,” a shackled Garnett said as he was escorted into the state police Wilkes-Barre barracks in Hanover Township after his arraignment.
State police served a search warrant at Roaring Brook Baptist Church on Dec. 6, 2017, seizing computers and documents listing attendance records of students and teachers. The search warrant was based on a complaint they received earlier that year by a man who claimed he was sexually assaulted at least three times inside the church.
Information in the search warrant is similar to allegations listed in the criminal complaint filed Tuesday against Garnett.
According to the complaint, the man said he was in the first- and second-grades when he was sexually assaulted by Garnett.
Garnett performed lewd acts telling the victim, “God would want you to do this,” while telling the victim not to tell anyone, the complaint says.
State police believe there may be other victims who are encouraged to come forward.
Message from Executive Director Laura A. Ahearn: Please visit our website at www.crimevictimscenter.org for news, information and resources in your community.