A former associate pastor of a large Lexington church has been charged with sexual abuse of two teens, according to court records.
Reid Buchanan, who worked at St. Luke United Methodist Church from July 2016 until August of this year, was arrested Wednesday by Lexington police. Two minors accused Buchanan, 63, of touching them inappropriately multiple times, starting when they were younger, according to a complaint warrant filed in Fayette District Court.
The abuse of the youngest victim allegedly began two years ago. She didn’t come forward until a recent incident.
Abuse of the other victim began many years prior with the latest incident in April, according to the complaint warrant.
Buchanan denied any wrongdoing, according to court records.
As associate pastor at St. Luke United Methodist Church, he was director of missions and was involved in the planning of mission trips, said Cathy Bruce, director of communications for the Kentucky Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, headquartered in Crestwood in Oldham County.
According to the August 2017 newsletter from St. Luke, Buchanan was a familiar face at the church for “ten years or so.” He led numerous mission trips and formed a partnership with Kentucky Refugee Ministries, the newsletter stated.
The church learned of the allegations on July 23, Bruce said, at which point Buchanan was immediately relieved of his duties and suspended. As of Aug. 31, he is on “unpaid transitional leave” and will not be appointed to any United Methodist Church position while the investigation is active.
“This is a difficult situation for all involved, particularly” those that brought the allegation to the church’s attention, Bruce said. “We are keeping them in our prayers.”
She said there are no allegations of misconduct on church grounds or at a church event. There were no complaints made about Buchanan to the church, which has an average Sunday attendance of 400 people.
“We take any allegation of misconduct very seriously,” Bruce said.
A St. Luke’s newsletter said in August that Buchanan began full-time work with TMS Global after leaving the church.
But TMS Global hasn’t employed Buchanan since 2011, according to Jim Ramsay, vice president for global operations. Buchanan had worked a number of years for TMS prior to his departure from the organization in 2011. The organization did not receive complaints about Buchanan during his time there.
The current allegations are a surprise.
“I had no inkling,” Ramsay said.
Buchanan, who is free on a $7,000 bond, pleaded not guilty Thursday in court. He was ordered not to have contact with the teens, and a preliminary hearing was set for 8:30 a.m. Nov. 3. At that time a judge will determine whether there is enough probable cause to send the case to a grand jury for possible indictment.