New details in case involving youth pastor


Reporter - Lauren Adams
Photojournalist - Justin Jones

MARSHALL COUNTY, Ky. - On Wednesday, a judge significantly lowered the bond in the Robert Byars case. Bond was set at $200,000 cash. Now, it is $25,000 cash. It's a sum his attorney, Will Kautz, says family is willing to pay.

Police arrested Byars, 32, earlier this month after investigating a complaint about a possible inappropriate relationship with a teenage girl. He now faces charges of unlawful transaction with a 16-year-old, rape and sodomy.

Since his arrest, Byars has resigned his position as youth minister at Walnut Street Baptist Church.

In early July, investigators seized computers, cameras, and cell phones from Byars' Benton home. The pair, according to court documents, texted each other semi nude photos and explicit messages. Investigators also have voice mails, including one where Byars professes his love for the 16-year-old and calls himself her 'boyfriend.'

Other documents record the relationship began in December and many times the acts took place on the property of the church. Police also have a detailed statement from the victim who claims those encounters occurred dozens of times.

In District Court Wednesday, the judge made it clear Byars was not to have any contact with her or anyone else under the age of 18- with the exception of his 7-year-old son.

Also, as a condition of that lowered bond he will wear an ankle monitoring bracelet and be on home confinement with the exception of work, legal and medical needs.

Will Kautz said his client was eager to get back to work at Vulcan Materials saying, "Certainly my client can be more productive working than sitting in jail."

"I think they're reasonable conditions, these are serious charges and certainly I respect the the decision the prosecutor and judge made to impose these decisions and I have no problem with that," he added of the bond conditions.

Byars is married and if he does bond out of jail he would be returning to the home he shares with his wife. She was not in court but Byars' brother and parents were as well as his church pastor. All declined to comment.

On Wednesday, Byars waived his rights to a preliminary hearing. The case heads to the Grand Jury next week.