Police: Church deacon molested children

Man also accused of making child pornography

ST. MARYS, Ga. - A deacon at church in Kingsland is accused of sexually abusing two young children and making DVDs of children engaged in sexual conduct.

St. Marys police arrested Jones Rivers Oct. 10 at his home on Thoroughbred Road. At the time, Rivers was wanted on two counts of sexual exploitation of children.

In July, the St. Marys Police Department received a report from a local mandated reporter indicating that two children, ages 4 and 7, were possible victims of child sexual abuse. Police said they launched an investigation into the allegations and learned from the children involved that Rivers was touching them inappropriately on their "private areas."

It was also reported that Rivers had exposed the 7-year-old to pornography on his home computer, police said.

Rivers was initially arrested on two counts of child molestation and one count of furnishing obscene materials to minors.

A search warrant was issued for Rivers' home in connection with the investigation, and multiple electronic devices were seized. Personal-use computer hard drives, discs, homemade pornographic DVDs, and other digital storage devices were some of the items seized and sent off to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for analysis.

"Policemen came and there were several officers with guns drawn, one on the side, one in the back. They were observing with their guns drawn," neighbor Vito Sestito said. "They smashed the door down. I didn't see anyone getting arrested, but they were here several hours, and in that time I did notice they went through the house very well with forensic people, they took out the garbage and went through it to see if there was anything in the garbage."

After that, Sestito said he never heard anything again about what happened until he learned Monday of the accusations against his neighbor.

"We don't know him, he doesn't seem to mingle with any of the neighbors, so we really can't tell you much about him," neighbor Christine Jay said.

"I know I'll be sitting up watching TV late at night and I see his vehicle, and before, he'd come up with his lights on, but now he's just been turning his lights off," said one neighbor who didn't want to be identified.

In September, results were returned from GBI for the electronic items analyzed. The computer hard drives revealed images of what appeared to be very young children engaged in sexual conduct, police said. They said the images identified were brought to a local pediatric specialist and child medical forensic examiner in an effort to determine the ages of the children. The pediatric specialist was able to state that the images appeared to be of children ages 12 and younger, police said.

Police said they identified 112 pornographic DVDs that contained a variety of pornographic behavior ranging from homosexuality to bestiality. The homosexual pornography appeared to involve teenage males, but their exact ages have not been determined at this point, police said.

Rivers was released from jail Oct. 12 on $11,700 bond. He is charged with one count of sexual exploitation of children. No one answered the door at his home Monday.

Anyone in the community who has children who may have been in contact with Rivers and believes they may be a victim is asked to call the St. Marys Police Department at 912-882-4488.

Copyright 2012 by News4Jax.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.