Music minister charged with lewd act on child

Police: Victim said minister groped her in church building

by John Eby, WYFF News 4 Reporter


October 29, 2010

GREENWOOD, S.C. -- A music minister in Greenwood is accused of groping the breast of a 13-year-old girl, according to Greenwood police.

Norman Henley Keesee, 57, is charged with committing a lewd act on a child. Keesee is an associate pastor and minister of music at Emerald Baptist Church in Greenwood.

According to incident reports, the girl told police that she was filing paper for Keesee at the church, when he walked up behind her, reached under her shirt and grabbed her breast.

She said that Keesee also grabbed her breast during a piano lesson two months earlier but said nothing about it at the time, the report said.

Curtis Eidson, the senior pastor at Emerald Baptist Church, said he stands behind both Keesee and the girl.

"Our goal as a church is not to reach a point of guilt or a point of innocence," Eidson said. "Our goal as a church is to stay on the path of truth."

Eidson said Keesee has been placed on paid administrative leave and is not allowed back on church property until the accusations are settled in court.

He said that Keesee worked with adults and children as music minister for seven years. He said the church has a clear policy regarding contact between adults and children.

"We do practice a safe sanctuary policy, which is very basically, if a child does not belong to you, hands off," Eidson said.