published Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Cleveland, Tenn., pastor charged with sexual battery

Pastor Henry "Hank" Davis
Pastor Henry "Hank" Davis
Photo by WRCB-TV Channel 3 /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

A Cleveland, Tenn., pastor has been indicted by a Polk County grand jury on two counts of sexual battery, the second time he has faced such charges, records show.

Henry "Hank" Davis, co-founder and senior pastor at Church of the Harvest, was picked up by Cleveland police on July 13. Polk County Sheriff's Office investigators allege Davis had inappropriate sexual contact with a girl under 16 during a youth mission trip to the Parksville Lake area in Polk County.

Davis has led the Cleveland Church of the Harvest with his wife, Rhonda, for more than 19 years, according to the church's website. He could not be reached by phone Wednesday.

In 2001, Davis was accused of fondling and biting an 18-year-old woman in Hamilton County. The charges later were dropped when the woman wrote a letter to the court recanting her statements.

However, the charges were brought again when the woman told authorities she was pressured into writing the letter by Church of the Harvest, records show.

Repeated attempts Wednesday to contact church personnel were unsuccessful.

Davis eventually pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of simple assault in July 2002. He was given a six-month sentence that was suspended, and ordered not to have contact with girls under age 18 other than family members.

Davis was taken to the Polk County Justice Center after the most recent charges and was released on $20,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court Monday.

Polk County sheriff's Detective Brian Fields, who investigated the case along with Detective Josh Stroud, said the victim told two adults about the incident. She later was interviewed by Department of Children's Services personnel, and she stated that Davis touched her breasts and vaginal area, according to a news release from the sheriff's office.

Sheriff Bill Davis said no further information about the case is being released now.

about Rachel Bunn...

Rachel Bunn is originally from Ellijay, Ga., and graduated from the University of Georgia with degrees in magazines and history. While at UGA, she wrote for the student magazine UGAzine, served as news editor for the student newspaper, The Red & Black, and spent a semester studying British history at Oxford University in Oxford, England. She has previously worked at The Rockdale Citizen in Conyers, Ga., and The Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the ...

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