A Columbia man is behind bars for allegedly sexually abusing three young girls who all worship at the same church.
Nashville's News 2 learned Ronald Clouse, 58, is charged with three counts of aggravated sexual battery for abusing the girls ages 5, 6, and 10 years old.
Clouse attends the Lighthouse Church of Jesus Christ on Williamsport Pike, where with the children and their families also attend.
According to investigators, two offenses happened at the church in December 2012.
Lt. Andy Jackson told Nashville's News 2 Investigates, “They had a breakfast at church, during breakfast time, pastor noticed Clouse spending too much time with the children and it makes him wonder. I think he has them in his lap a lot. The Preacher is nervous and it is revealed Clouse has molested these kids.”
According to investigators, one of the alleged offenses happened in January in Columbia in the back seat of a car on the way to McDonalds.
Lt. Jackson added, “He is driving them to McDonalds and there was a couple of kids in the back seat and he wanted to sit with them to comfort them, that's his excuse to his daughter who is driving and one of these instances happened. My understanding is while he was in the back seat with these girls; he sexually assaulted one of these girls. That child was 10 years old.”
Investigators told Nashville's News 2 Investigates Clouse came to the attention of investigators when the pastor here noticed something awry and called authorities.
Clouse was charged with three counts of aggravated sexual battery. Authorities said they are working to see if there are other victims.
“It's not closed. There might be other victims. It makes me nervous did we get him for the first time he ever did this,” questioned Lt. Jackson.
“You just gotta keep digging,” he added.
Nashville's News 2 Investigates reached out to Clouse for a comment, but he declined. He is being held in the Maury County Jail on 75,000 bond. He's expected to appear in court March 4.
Investigators said Clouse has implicated himself in this crime.
The church pastor has not returned messages from Nashville's News 2 Investigates.
The Maury County Sheriff's Department urges anyone who might have new information involving the case of Ronald Clouse to call authorities.
Andy Cordan will have more on this story on Nashville's New 2 at 6 p.m.