Sex-abuse probe ends with Bartlesville suspect's death
BY Associated Press
Tuesday, May 08, 2012
5/08/12 at 5:53 AM
BARTLESVILLE - Police have closed a sex-abuse investigation after the head of an international Christian ministry named as a suspect apparently killed himself, authorities said Monday.
Tom White, 64, was being investigated, but had not been charged, in the abuse of a 10-year-old girl.
White was found dead last month at the Bartlesville headquarters of The Voice of the Martyrs, a nonprofit that provides medical supplies, food and clothing to those in need. He had been the agency's executive director for more than 20 years.
Employees discovered a letter in White's vehicle indicating he was "suicidal or possibly fleeing to avoid investigation" Bartlesville police said.
Bartlesville Police Capt. Jay Hastings said the department is closing its abuse investigation because the suspect is dead.
"The case is basically not going anywhere," said Hastings, who also noted that the department's next step is to ensure the girl receives proper treatment or counseling.
"The child still has to deal with what's happened," he said. "Our main goal at this point is to make sure the family and victim get the proper services, basically."
Bartlesville police are awaiting autopsy results from the state Medical Examiner's Office, whose spokeswoman said Monday that the report was still pending.
Hastings would not say Monday if the victim was somehow involved in the ministry or how White may have come in contact with her.
A statement posted online from James E. Dau, the ministry's president, said no one in leadership at the organization was aware of the allegations at the time of White's death.
"Like everyone on our team, and probably like you, my first question was 'why'" Dau wrote. "The day before (White was found dead) allegations were made to authorities that Tom had inappropriate contact with a young girl.
"I personally believe that rather than face those allegations and the resulting fallout for his family and this ministry, Tom chose to end his life," he wrote.
Ministry spokesman Todd Nettleton said he could not comment beyond Dau's statement.
No telephone listing for White's family could be found Monday.
Original Print Headline: Death of suspect ends investigation in sex-abuse case