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Former northern Arizona pastor found guilty of child molestation

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX – The former pastor of a church in northern Arizona was found guilty Wednesday of child molestation charges, a year after a jury deadlocked on similar charges.

Thomas Chantry was retried in Yavapai County Superior Court on four of the five molestation charges from a 1995 incident. No police reports were filed until 2015, the Daily Courier reported Wednesday.

Jurors in Camp Verde deliberated for 14 hours, the paper said.

Deputy County Attorney Susan Eazer told the jury that the former pastor of the Miller Valley Baptist Church threatened the accuser with God’s punishment if he told anyone what happened.

Chantry, 47, was pastor at Miller Valley Baptist Church beginning in 1995. He eventually left for a similar post in Hales Corner, Wisconsin.

An associate minister at a different church named Chantry in a sexual assault report made to Prescott police in 2015.

The associate minister told them a congregant, now grown, had said he had been molested by the pastor when he was 4 or 5 years old.

The indictment included a reference to Chantry having hit a child with a boat oar on more than one occasion.

Chantry’s attorney questioned how accurate witness memory was and pointed out police hadn’t conducted a thorough investigation.

Chantry was scheduled for sentencing July 19.

Last summer, Chantry was on trial for five molestation charges and three for aggravated assault. He was found guilty of two of the aggravated assault charges.

He also faces nine other child abuse and molestation charges in a separate case.

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