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A Big Spring man was arrested this week on charges of sexually abusing a child, according to local law enforcement officials.
Samuel Lee Lyte, 70, of 1811 S. Lancaster, was arrested Monday night and charged with indecency with a child â€“ sexual contact and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence with intent to impair. According to officials with the Howard County Detention Center, Lyte was later charged with continual sexual abuse of a child less than 14 years of age.
Bond was set at $20,000 for the charge of indecency with a child â€“ sexual contact, $20,000 for continual sexual abuse of a child and $5,000 for tampering with or fabricating physical evidence.
According to Sgt. Tony Everett, public information officer with the Big Spring Police Department, the abuse was reported to law enforcement by a family member.
â€śThe suspect was brought to the police department Monday for questioning,â€ť Everett said. â€śFollowing interviews by investigators, he was taken into custody and booked into the Howard County Detention Center.â€ť
Everett confirmed the victim is a female under the age of 14, but declined to comment further, citing an ongoing investigation.
Initial reports by investigators make it unclear how long the abuse may have gone on, according to Everett.
â€śTo be charged with continual sexual abuse of a child, the abuse has to have happened over more than one incident,â€ť Everett said. â€śHowever, it's still too early to say how long this contact may have gone on. Investigators are still gathering evidence and witness statements. I can't go into anymore detail than that because this is an ongoing investigation.â€ť
According to those familiar with Lyte â€” speaking on a condition of anonymity â€” he was serving as a youth minister at Mt. Bethel Baptist Church at the time of his arrest. Officials with St. James Baptist Church in Odessa also confirmed Lyte had served as a musician for the church in the past, but is not currently employed with the institute.
The Big Spring man was also reportedly working for a church in San Angelo.
The Herald contacted the Rev. William Vaughn, pastor of Mt. Bethel Church, by phone for comment, however, a voice message was not returned in time for press.
Lyte's Facebook page identifies him as being originally from Chicago, Ill., where he graduated from Waller High School in 1952. On the website, Lyte also identifies himself as a reverend.
Everett would not comment on whether the victim's association with Lyte was through the local church.