Pastor and day care director resign from Fireside Chapel

Police, state continue to investigate allegations of child abuse

Pastor and day care director resign from Fireside Chapel

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - A current board member at Fireside Chapel confirms to 14 News that Gary and Kimber Auten have resigned.

Gary was the pastor. Kimber was the day care director.

The board member says the two “chose to resign on their own accord” Thursday.

He would not comment on the future of the church or the day care.

Kate O’Rourke, who broke the story about the investigation of the day care, went back to the church Friday morning.

She found all of the doors are locked, the lights are off, and all the day care signs and playground equipment have been removed.

Fireside Chapel without day care signs
Fireside Chapel without day care signs
Playground equipment removed at Fireside Chapel
Playground equipment removed at Fireside Chapel

There were two cars in the parking lot.

A current church member tells us Gary did preach last Sunday, and Kimber was there too. He says nothing was said about the allegations. He tells us he was not aware the two had resigned, so it had not been announced to the congregation.

14 News first reported the day care was under investigation on Jan. 30. Police say parents have come forward claiming their children were hurt.

We also found several violations had been reported during inspections of the day care. As of Friday, the 32 inspection violations filed on January 31 have not been resolved.

Indiana Family and Social Services Administration Deputy Director Marni Lemons tells us the state is investigating Fireside Chapel Daycare. One complaint is documented online, which Lemons says means it has been validated. It was filed on March 7, 2018 and was closed January 30, 2019. 14 News has requested a copy of that validated complaint.

Lemons says the state is currently considering whether or not they will allow Fireside Chapel Daycare to keep its registration. If it does, and if the daycare reopens, Lemons says the state will conduct another inspection.

Police tell us so far, no charges have been filed, but the investigation continues. We are told this latest development with the Autens resigning has no affect on their investigation.

Fireside Chapel is an Assemblies of God church. For days, we have tried getting in touch with the national and state leaders. They have not given us any details or information regarding the situation at Fireside and what is to come for the church’s future.

We are told general practice for Assemblies of God churches is for the state district to send in a pastor to continue services. We do not know if that is in the works for Fireside or when it would take affect.

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