Former volunteer at Chandler church accused of child molestation

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James Rhodes (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) James Rhodes (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
James Rhodes (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) James Rhodes (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)

A 57-year-old man who volunteered at a Chandler church is facing multiple charges of child molestation.

Mesa police arrested James Rhodes, a Mesa resident, on unrelated charges on Sept. 14. While Rhodes was still in custody on those charges, which have not been disclosed, Chandler detectives filed seven counts of child molestation against him.

The investigation into the allegations against Rhodes was launched in April. That investigation focused on Rhodes’ time as a volunteer at Arizona Avenue Baptist Church. He was there, usually working in a sound booth, between 2003 and 2009. Police believe the church is where Rhodes came into contact with the victim.

“Rhodes was remembered for always having candy for children, and, while working in the sound booth, it was common for Rhodes to have children sit on his lap,” according to Detective Seth Tyler of the Chandler Police Department.

Detectives said Rhodes also took part in the church’s weekly Bible study, as well as off-site sessions that usually took place at a church member’s home.

“Rhodes is charged with allegedly victimizing one child at the church, and at the victim's home,” according to Tyler.

According to court documents, police believe the abuse happened between Aug. 1, 2008 and July 31, 2009, when the victim was between 7 and 8 years old. Those documents also refer to a second victim, 8 years old at the time, and an incident at the church in August 2009.

A commissioner set a cash-only appearance bond at $100,000. If Rhodes posts, he will be subject to electronic monitoring.

Investigators are trying to piece together more information about Rhodes and determine if there are additional victims.

If you know anything about Rhodes, particularly during his time at Arizona Avenue Baptist Church, please call the Chandler Police Department at 480-782-4130 and refer to police report #2017-46537.  (Click/tap phone number to call from this story on your mobile device.)

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