Fmr. youth minister faces numerous sex crime allegations

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Reporter - Elizabeth Fields
Photojournalist - Mason Watkins
Web Editor - Mason Stevenson

MARSHALL COUNTY, Ky. - A former youth minister in western Kentucky faces numerous sex crime allegations.

According to paperwork from the Marshall County Circuit Court Clerk, Kentucky State Police charged Robert Byars with five counts of 3rd degree rape, five counts of 3rd degree sodomy and 15 counts of unlawful transaction with a minor.

The investigation began after authorities received complaints that Byars was having an inappropriate relationship with a minor.  The teen was also in Byars' youth group at Walnut Street Baptist Church in Benton, Kentucky.

Investigators say the alleged crimes, some of which took place on church property, happened between December 2012 and July 2013.

Byars resigned from his position with the church three weeks ago.

While executing a search warrant at his home, state troopers seized several items from Byars' home.  Investigators say they also have several pictures and text messages that were exchanged between Byars and the teen.

Byars will appear in court at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.

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