Accused of unholy acts

 Posted by Zack Smith - email

GASTON CO, NC (WBTV) - The leader of a local church made his first court appearance today.  His family calls it a conspiracy. Police call it sexual battery.

Harley Michael Keough leads a church in Bessemer City.  He was arrested last week for allegedly fondling women who came to his food bank for help.  In all, five counts of sexual battery.

Keough says he tried to resign.  His church wouldn't let him.  In fact, even though he doesn't earn a salary there to preach, they managed to raise the $5,000 bond to get him out of jail.

Keough's daughter believes the allegations are false.  She says he has often had trouble with drug users who tried to get help, but would sell their food for drugs.

Today, Keough was assigned a public defender.  He will be back in court in December.