Robert Byars, 32, former youth minister of Walnut Street Baptist Church in Benton, appeared in Marshall County Circuit Court Monday for a pretrial conference to learn whether Judge Dennis Foust would suppress evidence against Byars involving a three-count indictment involving rape, sodomy and unlawful transactions with a minor.
Judge Foust had not made a ruling on the request, but said he would do so by Wednesday.
Will Kautz, Byars’ attorney, said there was a possibility Byars would reach a settlement with Commonwealth Attorney Mark Blankenship before trial on Nov. 13.
Foust asked that if an agreement was going to be made to have it done by the end of the day on Nov. 12, so a jury isn’t called for the trial unnecessarily.
Byars was arrested by Kentucky State Police on July 1 and charged with five counts of third-degree rape, five counts of third-degree sodomy and 15 counts of unlawful transaction with an underage female who was part of his church youth group.
The KSP arrested Byars after they received a complaint that he had been engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old girl.
Police allege Byars’ relationship with his former youth group member had become sexual in nature in Dec. 2012 and had continued until his arrest.
According to the arrest citation filed by KSP Officer Corrie Jessup the acts are alleged to have taken place at times on the church’s property at 1605 Walnut Street.
Police have stated they have pictures and text messages between Byars and the underage girl, as well as a detailed statement from her.
Byars had resigned from his position as youth minister shortly before his arrest.
Byars is lodged in the Marshall County Detention Center on bond.