Man charged in rape at Victory Christian Center waives right to preliminary hearing
BY JARREL WADE World Staff Writer
Friday, October 12, 2012
10/12/12 at 8:04 AM
A man who is charged with raping a 13-year-old girl at Victory Christian Center appeared before a Tulsa County judge Thursday morning and waived his right to a preliminary hearing.
Chris Denman, 20, has no plea agreement with the state.
He was brought to court in a gray and white jumpsuit and answered, "Yes, sir," to all questions from the judge confirming the waiver.
Denman has been jailed since Sept. 5 and is charged with six counts of sex crimes against children, including the rape of a 13-year-old girl. The charges also involve two additional girls, ages 15 and 12.
The charges are first-degree rape of a child, forcible oral sodomy of a child, lewd molestation, lewd proposal to a child and two counts of using a computer to facilitate a sex crime.
Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris said the waiver of a preliminary hearing shows that Denman had no challenge to the state's ability to show evidence that a crime occurred and that the right person was charged - things that are required of the prosecution at a preliminary hearing.
"He's saying, 'I don't need to see the evidence,' " Harris said.
Denman's waiver sends him to an arraignment, scheduled for Oct. 22, when he will be able to enter pleas to the charges.
If he pleads not guilty and is convicted at a jury trial, he could face life in prison for the rape, life in prison for forcible sodomy, and 20 years each on the computer-related charges and the lewd proposal and molestation charges, Harris said.
Harris did not appear in court Thursday morning but provided details outside the courtroom after Denman's appearance.
The charges stem from an investigation of an alleged rape at Victory Christian Center that was reported as soon as two days later to church officials but which wasn't reported to police for two weeks, authorities and church officials have said.
In addition, Israel Shalom Castillo, 23, is charged with making a lewd or indecent proposal to a child and using a computer to facilitate a sex crime. Those charges involve a fourth alleged victim at the church - a 15-year-old girl.
Denman and Castillo, both members of the church, worked as janitors in the same department at the church, according to information provided by Victory Christian.
The investigation led to charges of failure to report child abuse against five Victory Christian Center staff members, including the pastor's son and daughter-in-law.
All five were suspended from their jobs but were scheduled to return to work with more oversight, an assistant pastor said last week.
Original Print Headline: Suspect in rape at church forgoes preliminary hearing
Jarrel Wade 918-581-8367
Chris Denman: He faces counts alleging sex crimes against children, including rape of a 13-year-old girl, at Victory Christian Center
District Attorney Tim Harris, with Sarah McAmis, director of his office's Crimes Against Children Division, talks to reporters Thursday after a hearing at which Chris Denman waived his right to a preliminary hearing on charges alleging child sex crimes. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World