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After search, pastor, wife arreste


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After a five-hour search across Johnson and Bartholomew counties, a minister and his wife were arrested on multiple felony charges, including sexual misconduct with a minor and neglect.

The Rev. Jonathan Harness, 43, and his wife, Buffy Harness, 44, both of Morgantown, were charged with four counts of sexual misconduct with a minor, two charges of criminal deviate conduct, sexual battery and neglect.

Jonathan Harness was also charged with two counts of intimidation, according to Indiana State Police.

Deputies searched areas of both southern and northern Bartholomew County, as well as southern Johnson County, but were unable to find the couple’s 2002 Chevrolet Silverado, Noblitt said. Also involved in the search were officers from Morgan County, the Indiana State Police and the U.S. Marshal’s Service, Chief Deputy Maj. Todd Noblitt said.

Police got a tip that the two might be in the Columbus area.

Morgan County police said that Buffy Harness and the couple’s two children might be in danger, Noblitt said.

Police also were warned Jonathan Harness, who was pastor at Abundant Life Fellowship in Morgantown, might try to provoke law enforcement into killing him, Noblitt said.

A Bartholomew County sheriff’s deputy spotted the couple sitting in their parked vehicle outside a hotel near Interstate 65, shortly after 10 p.m. Tuesday and both were arrested, Noblitt said.

The two children were found inside a motel room, he said.

Jonathan Harness was taken to the Bartholomew County Jail, where he was held without bond, and Buffy Harness, both of 140 E. Washington St., was taken to the Morgan County Jail, Noblitt said.

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