Church worker & Oak Grove assistant teacher arrested for sexual battery

Wesley Topp - Courtesy of Forrest County Regional Jail
Wesley Topp - Courtesy of Forrest County Regional Jail

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A church nursery worker and Oak Grove assistant teacher has been charged with the sexual battery of a minor under 14 years old.

Bond for Wesley Topp, 26, was set at $400,000, and later reduced by judge Schmidt to $100,000.

Hattiesburg police report Topp was arrested Friday. Police say the incident took place somewhere within the 2400 block of Hardy Street in Hattiesburg but will not specify where. However, Topp is a former employee at Parkway Heights United Methodist Church in Hattiesburg which is located at 2420 Hardy Street. Eddie Rester, lead pastor at the church, said in a prepared statement quote.

"We are saddened by the recent developments involving a former nursery worker employed by Parkway Heights in the church nursery. When we learned of the alleged incident we reported it immediately to the proper authorities and continue to cooperate fully with them in this matter.

"We feel it's important to note that the Early Encounters Day Care Center that is housed in our facility has no involvement in this matter. Early Encounters operates as a separate entity from Parkway Heights and there are no allegations against its staff.

"Until the investigation is fully complete it would be inappropriate for us to comment further. In the meantime, we ask that the community join us in prayer for those at the center of this investigation."

Lamar County Superintendent Ben Burnett said Topp is also an assistant teacher with a community-based special needs class at Oak Grove High School and is now on administrative leave. Burnett stressed Monday that the incident in question did not take place on campus and is not related in any way to Oak Grove High School.

Topp bonded out of jail Monday.

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