Transportation company employee accused of sexual abuse of a teen

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by WHAS11

WHAS11.com

Posted on July 25, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 26 at 8:51 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A Louisville man arrested Tuesday is facing charges after being accused of sexually abusing a teen after transporting him from a community center.

Police said Ronnelle Southerling was working as a driver for a transportation company that shuttled residents to and from the Agape Community Center when he took the victim from the center to an apartment at 2nd and College streets. Once at the apartment, Southerling allegedly gave the teen alcohol and later tried to grope him.

Bishop Dennis Lyons of the Gospel Missionary Church said Southerling attended and worked there.

“Ronelle is just another person who have come into this church as another one that has had to deal with issues in his life just like we all,” Lyons said.

Police said the victim, who is described as being in a "diminished capacity," took off on foot after the incident.

The state is now investigating. The Cabinet for Health and Family Services issued this statement:

The Cabinet is aware of the allegations, and the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities is investigating. Additionally, the Department for Community Based Services investigates allegations of caregiver abuse. We cannot release additional details at this time.

Southerling is charged with first degree sexual abuse and unlawful transaction with a minor.

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