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N.C. preacher charged with child molestation in Metro Atlanta

6:41 AM, Sep 23, 2011   |    comments
Clarence Arquitt, Jr., 86, lived in Sandy Springs
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SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. -- An 86-year-old North Carolina preacher has been charged with molesting his own granddaughter, who lives in Metro Atlanta.

Clarence Caldwell Arquitt, Jr. was arrested 12 years after the crimes allegedly occurred. His granddaughter, who is now in her 20's, reported the abuse to Sandy Springs police this August.

After an investigation, the Sanford, N.C. man was charged with molesting his granddaughter on several occasions over the course of eight years. Police said the incidents occurred between 1991, when the victim was three years old, and 1999.

Police said the girl was molested at Arquitt's residence in Sandy Springs from 1996 to 1999. Prior to 1996, she was molested at his then-home in Woodstock.

Police said they wanted to get Arguitt's information out to the public because they fear there may be other victims. Arquitt is a preacher by profession and has worked at 11 different churches across the Southeast, according to police.

Four of those churches are in the north Metro Atlanta area: Woodstock Church of Christ, North Cobb Church of Christ in Kennesaw and two churches in Marietta -- Piedmont Road Church of Christ and Olive Street Church of Christ.

Police said Arquitt also worked at the following church organizations outside the Atlanta area:

- Georgia Christian School, Dasher, Ga.
- Vultee Church of Christ, Nashville, Tenn.
- An unknown church in Jackson, Tenn.
- Deason Church of Christ, Deason, Tenn.
- Footstreet Church of Christ, Corinth, Miss.
- St. Andrews Church of Christ, Panama City, Fla.
- Faulkner University (Alabama Christian College), Montgomery, Ala.

Police said Arquitt he refused to return to Georgia to answer charges. He was arrested in North Carolina and is currently free on $30,000 bond.

Investigators are working with the Fulton County District Attorney's Office to extradite Arquitt back to Georgia. They said he is fighting extradition.

Detectives are asking anyone related to Arquitt or affiliated with the churches who may have information to contact Sandy Springs Police at 770-551-6900.

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