NEWPORT—A Newport pastor is free on bond following his arrest and sealed presentment this week on statutory rape charges.
Artie Michael Sturm, 39, of Mountain Ranch Road, was charged on Monday with three counts of statutory rape by an authority figure and aggravated statutory rape.
He is the pastor of DaySpring Baptist Church in Newport.
The presentment alleged that the incidents occurred in mid-2016, as well as the first quarter of 2018, that Sturm allegedly penetrated the victim, who was described between the ages of 13 and 18, and used his position of trust by being a pastor to accomplishing the “unlawful sexual penetration”.
The case was initially charged on a warrant in Sessions Court, but was sealed by Judge Brad Davidson and taken to a Cocke County Grand Jury.
Sturm, who was arraigned before Judge Carter Moore on Monday, had bond initially set at $150,000, but reduced to $50,000 by the court and he was released.
CCSD Det. Josh Hall investigated the case.
SISK CHARGED: Also on Monday, a Cityview Drive resident was charged with three counts of sexual battery and violating the Child Protection Act.
The sealed presentment charge that Zachary Aaron Sisk, 28, allegedly had sexual contact with a victim under 13, as well as continuous sexual abuse of a child.
Bond for Sisk was set at $150,000.
CCSD Lt. Bob Schaff investigated the case.