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McCullum Denied Bond

Preliminary hearing for former youth minister scheduled for Dec. 9.

A former Baptist youth minister charged with sexually abusing a teenage boy was denied bond Tuesday, Nov. 9 in Arlington's District Court.

Antawn McCullum, who was arrested Friday, Nov. 5, poses a flight risk because he has no established place of residence, said District Court Judge Ester Lyles.

McCullum, 32, is a native of Pascagoula, a small rural town in Mississippi. He once lived on Glebe Road, in Arlington, but was arrested at a friend's home on Farragut Place in Northeastern Washington, D.C., according to police records.

McCullum also faces similar charges in Fairfax County, one count of forcible sodomy and one of "taking indecent liberties with a custodial child," a class 6 felony.

MCCULLUM SERVED as a youth minister at the Macedonia Baptist Church, at 3412 22nd street. According to his arrest warrant, he is accused of forcing a 15-year-old boy in the church's congregation to perform oral sex on him. The alleged incident occurred in February 2002, but police only learned about the victim's claim of abuse this year.

"We didn't find out about this accusation until recently and when we did, we began investigating it immediately," said Matt Martin, Arlington Police Department spokesman.

McCullum resigned his post at Macedonia Baptist, Martin said, about two weeks prior to his arrest.

"My client is adamantly denying these charges," said Nader Hasan, McCullum's defense attorney.

Hasan was retained by McCullum's family to represent him in court. He declined to comment directly on the charges facing McCullum, but he said evidence will come to light during the trial that will weaken the prosecution's case. Officials at Macedonia Baptist have not responded to several requests for an interview. Commonwealth's Attorney Richard Trodden also declined to comment on the case or the evidence against McCullum, saying pre-trial publicity could prejudice the jury.

"We don't want to do anything that might infringe on the defendant's right to a fair trial," Trodden said.

Authorities have also declined to comment on whether McCullum will also stand trial in Fairfax County, but according to a statement from Arlington Police Det. John Ritter, the two jurisdictions are "working together on the case."

McCullum is currently being held in the Arlington County Detention Facility.

His preliminary hearing is currently scheduled for Dec. 9. If convicted, McCullum could serve a minimum of 5 years in prison. He could also receive a life sentence.

POLICE BELIEVE MCCULLUM may have abused other youths in the past. As of Friday, police said no other victims have come forward with claims of abuse.

In a landmark sentencing Nov. 10, another man accused of sexual abuse was given 12 consecutive life sentences in Arlington's District Court.

Thomas Fitzpatrick was convicted on seven counts of forcible sodomy, four counts of object sexual penetration and one count of abduction with intent to defile. Fitzpatrick, 50, was accused, according to police, of abusing a child from 2001 to 2003. His sentence is the longest handed down in Arlington County in nearly a decade, according to police.