A York County grand jury has indicted the Rev. Johnny William "Bill" Cabe on charges of child sexual abuse, increasing the possibility federal prosecutors might try to put the minister - who served seven years in federal prison for stealing more than $8 million - back in jail until he faces trial.
Cabe was indicted on charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and committing a lewd act on a child under 16 at Riverside Independent Baptist Church in Rock Hill, according to court documents. Both are felonies.
York County sheriff's deputies claim Cabe illegally touched an 11-year-old boy and gave the boy a cell phone communication card after the boy's caretaker cut off communication between Cabe and the boy.
The new indictments mean York County prosecutors now can prepare to take Cabe to trial, said Erin Joyner, the assistant solicitor handling the case. No hearing dates have been set.
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During a Nov. 2 court hearing, Cabe was appointed a public defender by the court for the pending sexual abuse charges.
Harry Dest, York County's chief public defender, said Friday his office has "started looking into the case since our appointment last week, and we have started our own investigation into the allegations."
Dest declined to comment further.
Cabe, 50, of York, has been out on bond since after his arrest and he remains the church pastor, as he was during his federal prison time, when he conducted services by telephone.
Cabe was convicted in 2001 in federal court of stealing more than $8 million from church-going investors in the 1990s. He was fined $7.8 million, and federal authorities seized more than $1.2 million of his assets. Cabe has paid about $2 million of the fine.
Cabe has been on supervised release since he left prison on the federal equivalent of probation in July 2008. Terms of his release mean Cabe cannot violate local, state or federal laws. Federal prosecutors have the authority to seek Cabe's return to federal prison.
Dean Eichelberger, the assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted Cabe and three others in the swindling scheme, said Friday he has discussed Cabe's case with York County prosecutors, but his office has yet to review the indictment. Cabe does not have to be convicted of the current charges for federal prosecutors to seek action in the federal courts, Eichelberger said.
Prosecutors would have to prove Cabe violated probation through a preponderance of the evidence - essentially the civil standard that is less than the beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard used in criminal courts.
The sexual assault allegations against Cabe are the third time he has been charged in similar incidents. He has never been convicted.
Charges involving allegations in 1998 and 1999 that Cabe performed hernia-like checks on two teenage boys were dismissed by prosecutors with the right to refile the charges. In 1994, a jury acquitted Cabe on charges of beating and fondling boys under his care in 1991 and 1992.