SMITHFIELD – On Friday, July 31, Smithfield police detectives arrested Archie Emerson, age 75, retired pastor of the Ocean State Baptist Church in Smithfield, charging him with second-degree child molestation.

Smithfield detectives received a complaint from a female acquaintance of Emerson reporting that she was molested by the pastor from the ages of 6 to 11. Detectives obtained a search warrant and an arrest warrant for Emerson and his home. Detectives seized computers and related items from the home. Emerson was taken into custody without incident.

He was later brought to Third District Court in Warwick where he appeared before Judge Joseph Ippolito Jr. Bail was set at $50,000 personal recognizance and he is scheduled to appear in Superior Court on Oct. 30 to answer the charge.

In a statement on the church's Facebook page, current Pastor Michael Woodward said the church staff and leadership "is totally shocked and greatly saddened by the news we heard for the first time today."

While not rushing to judgment, he said, they are taking these allegations seriously.

"At this time, please pray for the current leadership and the church body," he said.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact the Smithfield Detective Division at 401-233-1036.

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