MARIETTA, GA – 11Alive News has learned a Marietta youth pastor accused of molesting an 11-year-old boy was charged in another incident near Albany, Ga., three years ago.
But Alexander Edwards’ case was never prosecuted there until recently.
11Alive News is looking into how a serious felony charged involving sexual abuse of children could fall through the cracks.
The District Attorney in Lee County says he has a backlog of cases and this one has not been a priority until recently, when they found out about the Cobb County charges.
Edwards was re-arrested and indicted in Lee County late last month. He is now out of jail on bond, but with heavy restrictions, including an ankle monitoring bracelet, and no access to children, the internet or social media.
But for at least two young boys, the damage may already be done.
Alexander Edwards likes children. He says so on his own Vine account, where in 2013, he posted photos of children he ministered to as youth pastor at Providence Baptist Church in downstate Leesburg, Ga.
That was before his arrest for computer pornography and child exploitation in August 2013. Warrants obtained by 11Alive News indicated Edwards made sexual advances toward a 13-year-old Leesburg boy via text message and social media. He was charged at that time with two felony counts.
A condition of his $5,000 bond back then prohibited him from having any further contact with any children under the age of 18, yet somehow, Edward was able to obtain a job as a youth minister at Cobb County’s Eastside Baptist Church earlier this year.
He was arrested in April of this year for molesting an 11-year-old.
That church is in the process of reviewing its hiring processes.
“Somewhere in the process, there was a breakdown,” said Tamara Glover of the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy.
And perhaps there as a breakdown in the legal system as well.
For three years, Edwards was out on bond while his Lee County charges remained at a standstill. No grand jury review, no trial, no sentence. The district attorney there told 11Alive News they have a small office with a heavy caseload, and the Edwards case was not a priority until the Cobb County incident.
Lee County is now moving forward with the computer porn and child exploitation charges, and Alec Edwards is confined to a relative’s house while he awaits trial.
Glover says Edwards’ case fits a pattern – that most children know their abusers.
“Often times, the predator will establish a relationship with a child, then it grows, and as it continues to grow, some of the behaviors and interactions between the two get riskier and riskier,” she said.
Now the question remains – in the three years Edwards was free, were there any other victims?
“There is a possibility that there are some additional victims out there for this individual during that time period,” she said. “I would wonder what was going on – if there are any requirements for them to get help.”
Of course there were not requirements for Edwards to get help, because the Lee County case did not move forward. Now, an assistant DA has been assigned to the case, and he will have to face the Lee County charges. Then, after that, he will come the Cobb County charges.