The assistant pastor of the South Roane County Spoken Word Church has been arrested in McMinn County for having illegal sexual contacts with two sisters, ages 12 and 17 who resided in Rhea County. Roane Sheriffs detectives were contacted back in June about the allegations. Hugh McDowell, 62, of 2544 Highway 68, Niota, was arrested on Oct. 26 by the McMinn County Sheriff’s Department and charged with a capias out of Roane County. He was being held for Roane County authorities.
According to the statements in the police report, both girls were able to give specific details regarding the relationships. They were able to give specifics relating to the locations and events where they say the illegal activities occurred. They also relayed specific incidents that took place in Roane County at the Spoken Word Church.
McDowell was arrested Thursday on charges of Rape of a child, 2 counts of sexual battery of an authority figure, 2 counts of continuous sexual abuse of a child and aggravated sexual battery. The detectives placed on the case were requested to contact a DCS investigator regarding a possible child abuse situation. The Sheriff’s investigators contacted the DCS investigator, Ellen Klosterman. They discussed the situation and the information that she had. She advised that she had set a forensic interview and had the parents take the girls to Children’s Hospital in Knoxville for a complete medical examination.
Detectives did interview the parents, who confirmed specifics that was later also confirmed by the two girls at two locations once in a barn in McMinn County and the other incidents occurring at The Spoken Word Church in Ten Mile. One of the girls did confess that she had numerous conversations with McDowell via a cell phone and photos of her were sent to him on several occasions. McDowell reportedly asked one of the girls to model some red lingerie for him and send that photo to him which she reportedly did. According to the report, phone records were obtained showing at least 1100 different contacts between one of the girls McDowell. McDowell was interviwed back in the summer and denied the allegations, In a statement from the girls parents, McDowell had made threats against family members and stated if any of this got out, he was a former law enforcemnt officer in McMinn County and had a lot of power.
McDowell had not been release on bail at the time of this report.