Local News

Sanford minister wanted on Georgia child-sex charges

Posted September 23, 2011
Updated September 26, 2011

— A retired minister who lives in Sanford is fighting extradition to Georgia, where he faces charges of molesting a girl for eight years, authorities said Friday.

Clarence Caldwell Arquitt Jr., 86, was arrested in Lee County three weeks ago on a fugitive warrant but was released after posting a $30,000 bond. Police in the Atlanta suburb of Sandy Springs, Ga., have outstanding warrants for him on charges of child molestation, aggravated child molestation and sodomy.

A woman in her 20s contacted Sandy Springs police in August and told investigators that Arquitt began molesting her when she was 3 and continued doing so until she was 11, police Lt. Steve Rose said.

The Georgia arrest warrants indicate that Arquitt admitted to the woman's father that he had committed the crimes.

Arquitt refused to return to Georgia to face the charges when police contacted him, Rose said. Investigators are working with prosecutors in Fulton County, Ga., to extradite him.

Attorney Chas Post said Monday that Arquitt is fighting extradition because he maintains his innocence and because he is in bad health. 

Police also are trying to determine whether there are other victims in the case, Rose said. Arquitt has worked as a minister at several Atlanta-area churches, as well as at churches in Tennessee, Mississippi and Florida and a Christian college in Montgomery, Ala., Rose said.

Anyone with information in the case is asked to call Detective Mike Bailey of the Sandy Springs Police Department at 770-551-3308 or 770-551-6900.


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  • seven74215 Sep 28, 2011

    Playing the devil's advocate here but I don't remember anything that happened to me beyond when I first started to school, much less three years old. Maybe some can but I have never met anyone in person who could, only people on line claiming that they can. In no way am I advocating the preachers innonence or guilt (the courts will decide that) but I am pointing out that the realibility of someone recalling anything (to an acurate degree) of what may or may not have happened to them at three years old is not very valid. That in itself can discredit the rest of her testimony if she's not careful.

  • fayncmike Sep 27, 2011

    "But ....smart enough to fight extradition to Georgia...

    Who wouldn't?

  • laurenfedorov Sep 26, 2011

    Do not let a bad minister keep you from going to church. You would not let a bad manager or employee keep you from going to Walmart or wherever you shop, or wherever you like to eat. Why let a bad minister keep you from church?
    I can assure you heartily that not all preachers are equal. There are ones who sincerely make a concerted effort to live what they preach and who are men and women of integrity. Most are not well known, but they are out there.
    It is unfortunate that only the bad ones seem to make the news, however, and one most often never hears of the types that I speak of here.
    My prayers are with all who are affected by this travesty.

  • michaelclay Sep 26, 2011

    paulej, I'm 55 and I can remember some things that happened to me when I was 3. I'm not saying that I remember everything but I do remember some.

  • twc Sep 23, 2011

    paulej, I can remember outstanding events that happened when I was 3. That would certainly qualify as an outstanding event.

  • jkrmeme Sep 23, 2011


  • right2life Sep 23, 2011

    Often a victim is working with a psychologist who urges them to come forward. The professional may testify in court. A child usually does not understand, or know how to describe, what happened to them. They disassociate as kids, but become more aware of the crime as they mature. Shame is the main reason they don't tell anyone until memories of the abuse begin to make their adult life unbearable.

  • jkrmeme Sep 23, 2011

    According to the SandySpringsPatch:
    "Sandy Springs Police investigators have obtained warrants for an 86-year old North Carolina man charging him with the Child Molestation of his GRABDDAUGHTER which occurred numerous times between 1991 and 1999".

  • Alexia.1 Sep 23, 2011

    "A woman in her 20s contacted Sandy Springs police in August and told investigators that Arquitt began molesting her when she was 3 and continued doing so until she was 11, police Lt. Steve Rose said."

    And she can remember these events as a 3-year-old? I might be able to believe 11, but 3?!?! Anytime I hear something like that, I have to ask whether this might not be entirely true.

    It's scary to think a person can be arrested and put in jail on the word of a person. Perhaps this happened, perhaps it didn't. But, wow... what power a person has to ruin a person's life.

  • granny1957 Sep 23, 2011

    First of all I don't know this man. If he is guilty I am sure that it will come out. You can fight it extradiciton all you want but eventually he will go before the courts. If he is guilty he will face a worst punishment than he will get here on earth. By the way we do not need to abolish religion!!