Former Bentonville youth minister gets 60 years for sex crimes involving boys

Keenan Hord
Keenan Hord

BENTONVILLE -- A former youth minister pleaded guilty Friday to 13 sex-related crimes involving children and was sentenced to 60 years in prison.

Keenan Hord, 33, of Centerton worked for First Baptist Church in Bentonville before he was arrested Aug. 24.

Hord accepted a plea deal. A jury trial in his case had been scheduled to begin March 7.

One of Hord's victims gave a victim impact statement at Friday's hearing. The mothers of four other victims also gave impact statements.

Benton County Circuit Judge Brad Karren ordered Hord to register as a sex offender and not to have contact with any of the victims or any children.

Hord will be eligible for parole in 15 years.

Bentonville police received a tip through the Arkansas State Police child abuse hotline Aug. 19, according to a news release from the Bentonville Police Department. James Boothman, a Bentonville detective, testified at Hord's August bond hearing police served a search warrant and seized several electronic devices. Boothman said police had spoken to six victims and identified up to 30 possible victims with an examination of Hord's cellphone.

Bentonville police Sgt. Josh Woodhams testified at the bond hearing he examined a cellphone belonging to one of the boys that revealed a romantic and sexual relationship between Hord and the boy. He said there were 5,000 conversations on the phone between Hord and the boy. Woodhams said police located a half-million text messages on the phone. As many as 30 boys had conversations with Hord, Woodhams said.

Hord has served on the staffs of at least two Southern Baptist churches, most recently First Baptist Bentonville, where he joined the staff in 2016 and became student pastor in 2018, according to Baptist Press, the news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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