Minister faces charges

BY STACI WILSON

A United Methodist ordained minister faces indecent assault charges after he allegedly kissed and inappropriately touched a nine year old girl, April 2, in Harmony Twp.

Kenneth William Bitler, 60, Meshoppen, was charged by Tpr. Mark Keyes with corruption of minor – defendant age 18 or above; and indecent assault of a person less than 13 years of age in connection with the incident.

According to police, Bitler invited the child to come into an old church that he owns on Brandt Rd. and allegedly kissed the girl on the lips and rubbed her stomach under her shirt.

Police said the victim became upset and tried to back away but Bitler reportedly grabbed her arm and held her there until she slapped his hand and told him to let her go.

Bitler complied and the girl ran out of the church and told her mother.
According to police, the church involved is used only for storage at this time and does not have an active congregation.

Bitler was arraigned in New Milford District Court by Magisterial Judge Jodi Cordner. Bitler was released on $20,000 unsecured bail.
A preliminary hearing was scheduled for April 14.