Pastor awaiting trial for sex abuse found dead

LEVITTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Officials say a former suburban Philadelphia pastor charged with sexually assaulting a girl more than 20 years ago has taken his own life, a week before his trial was set to begin.

Sixty-one-year-old Scott Sechrist was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Monday night inside his home in Bristol Township.

Bucks County prosecutor Jennifer Schorn said he left a suicide note maintaining his innocence but she did not elaborate further.

Sechrist had served as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Morrisville and allegedly knew the girl's family from the church.

His accuser said the assaults occurred starting in 1989, when she was 9 years old, and continued until 1992.

Sechrist was awaiting trial on 20 counts of involuntary deviant sexual intercourse and related counts.