Preacher pleads not guilty to child sex charges - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Benton, MO

Preacher pleads not guilty to child sex charges

Preacher pleads not guilty to child sex charges
By CJ Cassidy

BENTON, Mo. - Not guilty - that's the plea a Southeast Missouri preacher accused of child sex crimes entered Tuesday.

Charles Rothman, 65, remains in the Scott County jail on $250,000 cash only bond.

Authorities say they had expected him to enter a guilty plea based on what he'd said earlier.

Now though, they're convinced he's acting out a role.  After all, they say this is a man who staged his own death just last week.

"I understand what they say I'm charged with," Charles Rothman said during his video arraignment.

Rothman appeared confused in court, but police don't believe it.

"I don't believe that because of the interview he gave before. If he was able to come up with an elaborate hoax to throw us off. He knows what he's doing, he's an intelligent man," Scott County Sheriff Rick Walter said.

Police say Rothman tried to fake his own death by setting his boat adrift at the Diversion Channel last week after someone from the group he preached to tipped him off.

More details into the sordid child sex allegations are starting to surface.

According to court papers, the 13-year-old girl Rothman allegedly raped and sodomized, came in contact with the preacher of sorts through her grandmother.

Court documents state the teen's grandmother dropped her off at Rothman's Scott City home on weekends and through spring break this year.

The grandmother tells me she had no idea any abuse was going on and that she had no reason not to trust Rothman.

Back in Benton, Sheriff Walter said Rothman will have to learn a new role as he waits for his court appearance - the role of an inmate.

Rothman appears in court again on June 19th.

Police say they are still investigating and there could be additional charges against him sometime this week.

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