Preacher accused of child molestation

Preacher accused of child molestation

An 86-year-old preacher is accused of molesting a girl several times over an eight-year period, police said Thursday.

Clarence Caldwell Arquitt Jr., of Sanford, N.C., refused to return to Georgia to face charges of child molestation and sodomy, Lt. Steve Rose with Sandy Springs police said.

Instead, Arquitt was arrested and booked into the Lee County, N.C., jail, but was released after posting $30,000 bond, Rose said. Arquitt is fighting being extradited to Georgia.

The victim, now in her 20s, told police Arquitt molested her from the time she was 3 years old until she was 11, Rose said. The molestation occurred at Arquitt's Woodstock home and later at his home in Sandy Springs, police said.

Investigators have determined that Arquitt has held positions at churches in metro Atlanta and throughout the Southeast, Rose said. Arquitt previously worked at North Cobb Church of Christ, Olive Street Church of Christ and Piedmont Road Church of Christ in Cobb County, and Woodstock Church of Christ in Cherokee County.

After helping found North Cobb Church of Christ in 1988, Arquitt served as the church's minister until he retired at the end of 1996, according to the church's website. In 1999, he was selected as the founder and initial director for the Georgia School of Preaching and Biblical Studies.

Arquitt has also worked in Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, police said. Investigators are trying to determine if there are victims in other cities, Rose said.

Anyone with information about Arquitt is asked to contact Det. Mike Bailey with Sandy Springs police at 770-551-6900.

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