A new victim has come forward, accusing former Vernon First Assembly of God Pastor Brian Pounds of illegal sexual behavior with a child. The allegations were unsealed Friday and a new charge of sexual assault of a child was added to Pounds, who is currently being held in the Wilbarger County Jail under six Grand Jury indictments.
Jimmy Dennis, secretary of the Vernon Assembly of God board of trustees, said the new allegations saddened the church and were deeply troubling. He said the church was cooperating with authorities in the investigation. Dennis presented the following statement to the newspaper from the church: “As the congregation of Vernon First Assembly, we were deeply saddened and troubled by the news concerning our former pastor Brian Pounds. His tenure as pastor ended with a letter of resignation that was submitted by him and read to the congregation on Sunday, July 18. We are cooperating fully with local authorities as they investigate this situation. We understand how hurtful and heart-wrenching these allegations are and our hearts, our prayers, and our sincere apologies go out to the family and those in our community who, along with us, have been affected by these tragic events.”
New victim identified
Pounds was charged with a new count of sexual assault of a child on Friday. The new allegation refers to an incident that occurred sometime around Oct. 1, 2013 according to a probable cause affidavit from the Texas Rangers, and it was uncovered as part of the investigation into the initial accusation.
Pounds was aware, on July 1, that he was under investigation from accusations made by a 15-year-old girl. As the week progressed and a case was built, Pounds became suicidal. On July 5, 2021 the affidavit states Vernon police responded to Pounds residence because it was “reported he was threatening suicide.” Police removed a 38-caliber revolver handgun from the residence, and also located 38 caliber ammo at the church in Pound’s desk. Pounds reportedly checked into Red River Hospital in Wichita Falls.
The affidavit states that on July 14, investigators conducted an interview with Pounds’ wife Amy, at her residence in Vernon: “Amy was asked about any knowledge of inappropriate activities by Brian, including any extramarital affairs, inappropriate relationships, or methamphetamine use. Amy denied any knowledge of indiscretions, affairs, or methamphetamine use by Brian.”
Pounds was arrested on July 16 at the Wichita Falls hospital and booked into the Wichita County Jail
While he was incarcerated, investigators reviewed phone calls Pounds made: “During these calls, Brian and Amy began discussing additional potential charges that could be filed against him. Brian identified (the new victim) to Amy by her first name, Brian inferred that if the additional charges are related to (the new victim) it would be bad. Amy told Brian, “I know.” Brian became extremely emotional saying, “I’m a dead man.’ Brian told Amy his involvement with (the new victim) was a long time ago and that “it has never mattered how sorry [he] was.”
During a follow-up interview: “Amy was confronted with the information obtained from the recorded jail calls between her and Brian. Amy confirmed she was dishonest during her initial interview regarding Brian’s involvement with other females and his methamphetamine use. Amy confirmed she knew of Brian being involved in exchanging inappropriate text messages with (the new victim) in the past though she denied any knowledge of a sexual relationship between the two.”
Investigators determined the identity of the new victim and interviewed her, they said she became extremely distraught, and agreed to give details of the alleged assaults.
She said about seven years ago, at age 15, she was sexually assaulted at the church and the assaults continued for about two years at both the church and Pound’s home. She said the first incident began when she participated in a youth group activity at the First Assembly of God church as they were playing a game called “Murder in the dark.”
She said Pounds would turn off the lights and the kids would hide in places around the church. She said when Pounds found her, he groped her. In another instance Pounds invited her to the church for a youth group activity, but she found only Pounds there. She said he told her to go wait in his office, until everyone else arrived. Instead he came in and locked the door. She alleged he made her disrobe and forced her to perform sex acts. On another occasion in the church office, she said Pounds put a revolver to her head and told her if she ever told anyone of the incidents he would kill her and himself.
District Attorney Staley Heatly has asked that anyone with any information related to this investigation, including any additional potential victims, to call Vernon police at 940-553-3111 or his office at 940-533-3346.
Pounds was previously indicted on six felony counts on July 21 Wednesday. In those counts, Pounds is accused of raping a 15-year-old girl in the church and a motel, choking her and giving her drugs.
Those offenses are alleged to have happened July 1, and in the month prior.
Vernon Police were notified on July 1, 2021, that a woman was trying to locate her 15-year-old daughter at the Lone Star Inn. The girl was subsequently located near Walmart.
Vernon Police alleged in the affidavit that the 15-year-old was groomed by Pounds at the church, during counseling, with meth and escalating physical touching. The victim gave details of sexual acts that occurred in various areas of the church and at the motel.
The victim allegedly told police that she and Pounds had been having sex for about a month.
Pounds was arrested Friday, July 16, 2021 at Red River Hospital in Wichita Falls. He was transferred to the Wilbarger County Jail from Wichita County on Friday, July 23. Pounds was pastor of the Vernon church since 2011 after previously serving as youth pastor in Oklahoma.