Pastor accused in molestation case wins appeal
Former Miller Valley Baptist pastor to be given bond
Rev. Thomas J. Chantry, charged with child molestation, and being held without bond in the Camp Verde jail, won the right to bond in a ruling by the Arizona Court of Appeals, issued Thursday, April 27.
Chantry, 46, was indicted in Yavapai County Superior Court on eight counts – five counts of child molestation and three of aggravated assault – for offenses committed in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when he worked at the Miller Valley Baptist Church.
Chantry left the Prescott area over 10 years ago and was arrested in Wisconsin in July. He was working as a pastor in the town of Hale’s Corners at the time; the church where he was employed has a message on its website saying that
“Mr. Chantry is currently on a leave of absence from the church.”
In a December, 2016 hearing before visiting Maricopa County Judge Bradley Astrowsky, Chantry was ordered held without bond.
A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals determined that denying Chantry bond in this case was unconstitutional because of a recent Arizona Supreme Court ruling.
In that case, the court ruled that prosecutors in child sex crime cases had to prove that the defendant was a danger to the community and that no conditions of release would protect the public.
The court ruled that the County Attorney’s Office had not proven those conditions and Chantry must be granted bond.
Chantry is next set to appear in court on May 3.