An elderly former member of a South Florida faith-based addiction recovery program is behind bars, accused of molesting young girls.
Henry Read III, 83, a former board member of Faith Farm Ministries, is charged with two counts of lewd or lascivious molestation of a victim under 12 years old, authorities said. He is being held without bond and it was unknown whether he has an attorney.
According to a Fort Lauderdale Police report, Read was arrested on Sept. 19 at Faith Farm's Fort Lauderdale location and booked into the Broward County Jail. His next court date is set for December.
Read is accused of fondling the two girls last Nov. 22, according to Fort Lauderdale Police spokeswoman Det. DeAnna Greenlaw. The alleged crimes happened off Faith Farm property, Greenlaw said.
Greenlaw said more victims who are now adults have come forward to help in the investigation.
"We are are aware of other victims related to Mr. Read's activity," she said. "Those victims did come forward. They spoke to our investigators. They gave information and cooperated with the current investigation."
She said they didn't wish to press charges against Read.
According to its website, Faith Farm provides a free, nine-month addiction recovery program with residential services for more than 400 men and women. In addition to Fort Lauderdale, they have locations in Boynton Beach and Okeechobee.
Faith Farm Ministries executive director Dean Webb didn't immediately respond to calls for comment Friday.
Customers were shocked by the allegations against Read.
"You come here, a lot of times you just donate stuff to charity, but then you look at this, it's not good, not good. Oh my God, that's sad," Vera Parker said.
"You can lose customers behind a situation like that," customer Leandra Jackson said.
Read had recently resigned from the board of Faith Farm, citing personal reasons, the Sun-Sentinel reported. He has been involved with the organization since it was founded in the 1950s by the Rev. Garland "Pappy" Eastham, his father-in-law.
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