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Pastor facing more rape charges

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Pastor facing more rape charges

The Rev. Michael Berkley, a pastor recently arrested on rape charges after officiating a funeral in Covington, is now facing rape charges in Lauderdale County.
Arrested after a straight indictment Monday, Berkley, a Covington native who pastored Victory Baptist Church in Henning before moving to Arkansas, was charged with two counts of rape, four counts of statutory rape by an authority figure, four counts of aggravated statutory rape and four counts of sexual battery by an authority figure.
A month ago, he was picked up on a warrant from Boone County, Ark., charging him with one count of sexual assault in the first degree, one count of sexual assault in the second degree, five counts of knowingly supplying alcohol to minors, three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, one count of sexual solicitation and two counts of loaning pornography to a minor.
Harrison, Ark. police say the investigation began in March after victims reported visiting Berkeley's home where they allegedly drank alcohol, smoked marijuana and a hookah. Several said Berkeley walked around the house naked and had sexual contact with them. Additionally, he is accused of watching pornography with the minors and taking them to a funeral home to view a dead body.
Berkley has posted the $100,000 bond in the Arkansas case and has been living in Covington, where he was arrested this week. He is set to be arraigned in Ripley Thursday morning. At press time, he was still in custody. Bond has been set at $150,000.
District Attorney General Mike Dunavant said there are not currently any charges pending against Mr. Berkeley in Tipton County.
Berkley was also formerly employed with Maley-Yarbrough Funeral Home and once owned a coffee shop on the square in Covington. He has officiated several weddings and funerals in Tipton County.

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