Middletown minister to be retried

Saturday, October 31, 1998

BY STEVE KEMME
The Cincinnati Enquirer

HAMILTON -- A Middletown minister whose daughter accused him of repeatedly raping her during a seven-year period will stand trial again.

The Rev. Darrell S. Bell will face the same 13 charges that a jury could not decide earlier this month. He faces five counts of rape, five counts of sexual battery and three counts of felonious sexual penetration.

His retrial begins Feb. 22. Judge H.J. Bressler of Butler County Common Pleas Court set the trial date Friday after Assistant Prosecutor Pat Downing informed him she planned to retry the Rev. Mr. Bell on the 13 felonies.

In his first trial, a jury acquitted him Oct. 2 of one rape charge. But jurors were deadlocked on the other 13 sex charges.

The case has devastated the Bell family and split the community. The Rev. Mr. Bell, 44, had served as pastor of Bethlehem Pentecostal Church and now serves as guest minister for churches.

His daughter, Dawn, is a 20-year-old student at Bowling Green State University.

The Cincinnati Enquirer usually does not print the names of alleged victims of sexual crimes. But Ms. Bell has consented.

The Rev. Mr. Bell attended Friday's hearing, but declined to comment afterward. Ms. Downing and the Rev. Mr. Bell's attorney, Robert Bostick, also would not comment.

Ms. Bell has accused her father of sneaking into her bedroom and repeatedly raping her from the time she was 10 until she left home to attend college.

She did not tell authorities of the allegations until after months of therapy while a student at Bowling Green.



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