Former minister arrested on sexual battery charges

Steve Haney (Courtesy: Shelby County Sheriff's Department
Steve Haney (Courtesy: Shelby County Sheriff's Department

A former Mid-South minister faces sexual battery charges.

Investigators said Steve Haney, former pastor of Walnut Grove Baptist Church, was out on bond Friday night.

Haney served as pastor for Walnut Grove Baptist Church for 20 years. He is now being accused of molesting a former church member from September of 2001 to December of 2006.

Rev. Steven Haney was Pastor of Walnut Grove Baptist Church for 20 years.  During at least five of them, he's accused to abusing at least one young man.

"Oh, I'm flabbergasted," says Hunter Ryan.  "I can't believe it," he adds.

Ryan attended Walnut Grove Baptist with his mother.

"It just don't sound like Steve Haney to me," says Ryan.

Haney is charged with Sexual Battery by an Authority Figure.  According to his official arrest ticket, Haney is accused of forcing a 15 year-old church member to take an "obedience test."  It required him to do perform various sex acts with the preacher.  The abuse allegedly lasted for five years.  The victim claims it happened in the pastor's study inside the church, at his home, and elsewhere.

Nobody answered when we knocked on Haney's door.  But there was a car in the driveway with a "jesus is lord" tag bracket.

"Today, it doesn't surprise me as much as it would 10 years ago even," says neighbor Shelia Wright.

"Even with your pastor, even with your sister, or brother, or whomever--you never know," adds neighbor Jonetta Doggett.

A teenager in the neighborhood told us he'd been approached by the preacher who wanted to videotape him playing baseball.

"This is an ongoing investigation and we're checking to see if there might be other victims involved in this case," says Shelby County Sheriff's Office spokesman Steve Shular.

It's a case that may be just beginning.

Haney is out on bond and set to appear in court Monday morning.

Click here to e-mail Jason Miles