A Kanawha County pastor accused of sexually abusing a teenage girl in his home entered a plea of not guilty Monday in Kanawha Circuit Court.
Circuit Judge James Stucky arraigned Johnnie Franklin Winnell, 59, of Gypsum Lane, Monday on charges of sexual abuse by a guardian or person of trust and first-degree sexual abuse. Winnell pleaded not guilty to both charges.
Winnell, who was listed in April as a computer operator for Kanawha County Schools' transportation office, was arrested in April after a teen girl in his care told Kanawha deputies he touched her inappropriately.
The 14-year-old told a forensic interviewer that Winnell, a pastor at United Gospel Mission on Charleston's West Side, touched her sexually at least twice, according to a criminal complaint.
Authorities said Winnell earlier told a police interviewer he touched the girl three times during her time at his home.
He said he touched her once under her clothes as she lay next to him on the couch, and that on another occasion he took her hand and "swiped it across his crotch." He told the interviewer he thought she was asleep both times.
Another incident occurred while the girl was in bed with Winnell and his wife. He said he touched her that time over her clothes.
A trial will begin at 9 a.m. Jan. 6. Winnell remains free on bond.