Yell County Priest Removed From Church After Sexual Misconduct Accusations
YELL COUNTY (KFSM) – A Yell County priest has been removed from his ministry in multiple churches after he was accused of sexual misconduct, according to a news release from Bishop Anthony Taylor of Little Rock.
On Sept. 21, Rev. James Melnick was relieved of his responsibilities as the pastor of St. Augustine Church in Dardanelle, St. Andrew Church in Danville and associate pastor for Hispanic ministry in St. John Church in Russellville. He was also suspended from all active ministry, the release states.
In the release, Taylor said that the Diocese of Little Rock received “credible allegations of sexual misconduct against Father Melnick” on Sept. 20.
Officials of the diocese interviewed some of Melnick’s alleged victims and verified multiple acts of sexual misconduct with multiple adult victims during a period of less than a year, according to the release.
“Since there were multiple victims, we seem to be dealing with predatory behavior, not romance. Later Father Melnick admitted that this is true,” the release states.
Taylor requested that anyone who had been harmed by Melnick contact the diocese to report the incident, according to the release. Taylor said he would offer victims the “assistance of the church in securing help if [they] could benefit from speaking with a psychologist or counselor to deal with what [they] have experienced.”
On Oct. 1, Rev. Mauricio Carrasco will take Melnick’s place to become the administrator of St. Augustine Church, St. Andrew Church and associate pastor for Hispanic ministry at St. John Church, the release states.