Pastor charged with serial child sex assault says he'll be cleared
WOODSIDE, Queens — He's the pastor of a church with a major outreach to young people, but now Rev. James E. Love is charged with repeatedly sexually assaulting a 6-year-old girl.
Love posted bail Monday night and on Tuesday his friends, neighbors and congregation tried to cope with the accusations.
"I'm still in shock," said family friend Regina Jennings.
She'd shown up Tuesday afternoon at the pastor's apartment in the Woodside Houses public housing complex to offer support to Love and his wife.
Love's wife regularly babysat the girl in the couple's first floor apartment. According to the criminal complaint from the Queens district attorney's office, between March and last week, Love exposed himself to the girl, made her touch his genitals and he touched her inappropriately, multiple times.
At the couple's home, Love's wife would not open the door to be interviewed. She said through the door, however, that he's no longer living there.
Their friend, Regina Jennings, showed up, she said, to offer support for the couple at a difficult time.
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"I don't believe he did anything," Jennings told PIX11 News. "[There are] no kids around here. He'd never approach kids in the wrong way."
Love's neighbors, many of them parents, said that they were reserving judgment.
"The truth will come out eventually," said a neighbor mom. "Either somebody's lying, or the truth will come out."
Meanwhile 12 miles away in Brooklyn, the suspect's church is shuttered, with Love nowhere in sight.
Posted on a streetlight in front of the church is a poster advertising that New Mount Zion has a "Focus on Youths." In the case of Rev. James E. Love, according to sex crimes detectives, the focus was far too personal and was illegal.
His spokesperson, Shaheed Muhammad, said by phone that Love's name will be cleared, but that he shouldn't talk about the case in public.
"I think that it's wise," Muhammad told PIX11 News, "that I advised the family that we'll not have any comments until after the June court hearing, when the charge is dismissed."
Love had planned to make a public statement in front of his house on Tuesday in his defense, but canceled.
Meanwhile, detectives continue to probe into Love's situation. They're trying to determine if there may be other alleged victims.
His next court appearance is scheduled for June 17.