FAIRVIEW — A young girl told authorities a Fairview pastor used sexual abuse as punishment. Tommy Joe Pitts, 51, was charged Wednesday in Major County District Court with nine felony counts in connection with the sexual assault of three girls ages 8, 9, and 12.
The complaints include two counts of first-degree rape, four counts of lewd molestation and three counts of rape by instrumentation. Pitts appeared briefly in court Wednesday afternoon with his attorney, Fritz McGee. His bail is set at $1 million. His wife was in the courtroom. She called the sheriff’s department March 31 to report Pitts molested three girls and was threatening to kill himself. Pitts was arrested after he deliberately drove into the path of a tractor-trailer rig, authorities said. The vehicles did not strike each other and Pitts was not injured, authorities said. Pitts’ wife said she became suspicious of Pitts when he insisted on spending more time alone with the girls and confronted him about the alleged abuse on March 31. The 12-year-old girl told authorities when the girls broke a rule Pitts would give them a choice of punishment. He offered the option of getting a spanking or touching his genitals. Investigators claim they’ve documented more than 70 instances of sexual assault against the three girls. Pitts, an ordained minster with the Assemblies of God since 2007, was pastor at the Midway Assembly of God in Fairview.