MUSCLE SHOALS – As details of the case were unraveled Tuesday, a shocked community poured over every snippet of information they could find about yet another beloved youth minister’s alleged criminal activities with children. Today, the revelations continued in what is certainly to be one of the most sordid series of sexual events the Shoals has witnessed in quite some time.
Muscle Shoals Chief of Police, Robert Evans told reporters at a media conference today, that the sex-crimes investigation continues in the case of Highland Park Baptist Church youth minister, Jeffery Dale Eddie. According to Chief Evans, Eddie has admitted to “performing oral sex and other acts on several of the minor members of his church numerous times.” Furthermore, Evans indicated that there are most-likely other alleged victims who have yet to come forward. He encouraged anyone with information about Eddie to come forward to the Muscle Shoals Police Department.
According to Evans, this investigation was started only this past Saturday when a church member contacted the Police Department about an incident with a youth at Highland Park. An investigation ensued.
Police searched Eddy’s office at the church and found on his office computer, what was described by Chief Evans, as child pronography. They took Eddy into custody on a 72 hour hold and proceeded to question him. It was during this time, that Evans said that Eddy confessed to multiple incidents with the children. It is understood that most, if not all, of the sex acts took place on church grounds. Tuesday evening, Eddy was formally charged with multiple felonies. He is being held in the Colbert County Jail on a bond totaling $1,030,000.
Highland Park’s lead pastor, Brett Pitman was also at the media conference and read this statement:
“As a church, we are outraged, shocked and deeply saddened by the events that have unfolded over the last few days. First and foremost, we are striving to assist any children and families that have been affected by these events. The health and well being of these children is our number one priority at this time. For years, Highland Park Baptist Church has invested in the Shoals community and we are committed to helping our entire community cope with this situation. Anyone with any information about this case should immediately contact the Muscle Shoals Police Department. Any children or families in search of counseling may contact our church office for assistance. In closing, we want to personally thank every person that has come forward. They are heroes and should be treated as such.”
Chief Evans added, “Witnesses stepped forward and their strength and their courage does not go unrecognized. We appreciate what they’ve done. This is a tragedy that affects everyone, that touches everyone. The community has stepped up and banded together.” Chief Evans thanked Highland Park officials for coming forward and cooperating so fully with the investigation, “They responded in a way they should have and they responded promptly,” he said. “As soon as they became aware of what they perceived to be a problem, they notified police. The pastor, staff, everyone connected with the church has been as supportive as they could be.”
Muscle Shoals Police are asking the public to contact the Department if there is any information worth sharing. The phone number is 256 383-6746.