Weleetka Pastor Faces Lewdness Charges

Thursday, January 15th 2009, 2:26 pm
By: News On 6

By Dan Bewley, The News On 6

WELEETKA, OK -- The pastor of a church in Okfuskee County is jailed, charged with molesting several young girls in his church.  Investigators say most of the abuse happened on the grounds of the Arbeka Indian Baptist Church just outside the town of Weleetka.

Arbeka Indian Baptist Church sits in the countryside of Okfuskee County.  The church property acts as a campground, of sorts.  Church members drive from as far away as Oklahoma City or Tulsa for services that last several days.  The grounds have several living quarters where the congregation stays the night. 

For the last several years Marvin Lowe has been the church's pastor.  Investigators say the 51 year old has been molesting girls as young as eight years old on the property since at least the summer of 2007.

Related story: 1/14/2009  Weleetka Pastor Jailed On Molestation Complaint

Sheriff Jack Choate says Lowe also molested girls in his Okmulgee County home.

"Some have known it for some time and were just, more or less, afraid to bring it up," said Okfuskee County Sheriff Jack Choate.

Court documents show Lowe would sometimes sleep with the girls on the floor of his home.  In other cases, he's accused of fondling the girls inside the fellowship hall.

Investigators say they're also aware of a 32-year-old victim who says Lowe assaulted her when she was a teenager.

"I do think there's a possibility that we do have other people who have not come forward yet," said Okfuskee County Sheriff Jack Choate.

The church sits a mile and a-half from where Skyla Whitaker and Taylor Placker were found dead last year, no one has been arrested for their deaths.  While the sheriff doesn't believe Lowe was involved, it's something investigators are still looking into.

"We're not saying that he is part of that or was. But, we want to definitely verify that he was not a part of it," said Okfuskee County Sheriff Jack Choate.

Lowe is being held on $240,000 bond.  The sheriff expects him to face more charges as more people come forward in the future.