Editors note: We are naming the suspect because he served as a pastor, in a position of trust.
YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - A former Yuma pastor accused of molesting a nine-year-old child two years ago learned that he has not been formally charged for the alleged crime.
The Yuma County Sheriff's Office said an investigation revealed 34-year-old Franklin Sharples had sexually abused a child, with one incident taking place in the 4400 Block of E. County 10th Street, right off of Interstate 8.
Deputies arrested Sharples Tuesday afternoon and booked him into the Yuma County Jail on one count of child molestation.
We reached out to YCSO to ask the exact details of the incidents, but they were not able to provide any other information at this time.
In court Friday, Judge Gregory Stewart told the defendant that no complaints or charges were filed by the state, meaning Sharples was not formally charged. Because of that, Sharples could be released as soon as Friday afternoon.
Since Sharples' arrest we have learned that he served as a pastor at Champion Church, according to the church's website. Senior Pastor Stephen Bloomfield posted on the YCSO Facebook page that Sharples was no longer with the church.
This is a devastating time for the Champion family and the Sharples family. We are shocked and deeply saddened by the allegations that have been made against Mr. Sharples. As a church who stands for the protection of the children of our community, our first priority is to the children of Champion Church and the Champion Family as a whole. To the best of our knowledge these allegations did not happen at Champion Church or at a Champion event. We are praying for and supporting the family of the minor in every way possible. Additionally, up to this time, there has been no one from Champion Church who has made any accusation of wrong doing by Mr. Sharples. We are also praying for the Sharples family as they face this devastation, and will continue to offer any and all support to them. At this time, Mr. Sharples has been released from his position at Champion Church, and Pastor LaCinda will take over the children’s ministry. In America, a person is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, and so we pray that God will ultimately reveal the truth in this matter. We will cooperate fully with any investigation, and we will provide prayer and crisis counseling to anyone who may need it.Champion Church Senior Pastor Stephen Bloomfield
This case remains under investigation at this time. Anyone with information regarding this case, please contact the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office at 928-783-4427 or 78-CRIME to remain anonymous. You can also visit www.yumacountysheriff.org to submit an anonymous tip.