Youth Pastor Clayton Pruett Cleared of Sex Abuse Charges

This is such a great story I had to copy the entire thing. I think he handled it with dignity and grace, as well.

This story is courtesy of


(WHAS11) – Clayton Pruett got a little piece of his life back.

Clayton Pruett said, “It feels great it can show everybody what we’ve known all a long.”

A signed statement tonight says that sex abuse allegations against a Bullitt county youth pastor were all made up.

The mother of the accuser signed that statement today, clearing the name of Pastor Clayton Pruett.

The mother is Debra Johnson and until recently she was a member of the Bullitt County School Board; she’s been charged with a felony before.

She’s now left town and is living in Arkansas.

Several months ago the charges against the pastor were dismissed because the detective didn’t show up in court.

Now the pastor has a signed statement from Johnson saying she retracts the sex abuse claims.

Pruett was handcuffed, arrested and booked, charged with sexually abusing a teenage girl at his church.

The Bullitt County youth pastor at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church always maintained his innocence and now says he has proof.

Clayton Pruett said, “It’s been so tough because you don’t escape this you live with it everyday now I feel like I can put it to rest.”

This settlement order was filed in court today.

In the statement it says Debra Johnson’s complaints to police about Pruett abusing her daughter were false.

It also says Johnson regrets having made such statements.

It goes on to say Pruett has committed no crime.

The document is signed by Johnson.

Clayton Pruett said, “I think plain and simple, they wanted to show who was boss and they wanted to do things their way.”

Pruett says he thinks Johnson was mad because Pruett was trying to show her daughter how to conduct her behavior at church.

Johnson’s attorney would not comment after the document was filed.

I talked to Johnson shortly after she was elected to the Bullitt County School Board.

In 2000, Johnson plead guilty to a felony charge in California of leaving town with her children without telling anyone.

She says she was fleeing an abusive relationship.

Pruett will preach this Sunday at Pleasant Grove; the topic – forgiveness.

Clayton Pruett said, “I think you have to live your sermons before you preach them, and I’m glad that we handled this and let the legal system handle it.”

Over the weekend the board members at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church unanimously voted to give Pruett his duties back as youth pastor.

He’s already gotten his job back with Bullitt County schools as a substitute teacher and wrestling coach.

We tried to talk to the Bullitt County Sheriff’s Department to see if Debra Johnson would face any charges for filing a false police report and to see what evidence they had against Pruett to arrest him in the first place.

Lt. Col. Coy with the department said they could not comment on the case at this time.

Debra Johnson has not returned our calls.

4 Responses

  1. I can’t beleive how easy it is for someone to screw up another persons life just because they get made at them or they want to get some money out of them. I have a close friend that is going through something like the now. We know he did not do ANYTHING the kids said he did but yet it is so hard on his family and friends. The police have not even talked to him but they did get a warrent to arrest him. Please pray for his family, you don’t need his name because God knows it.


  2. I actually looked into this. I didn’t see anything in the file that said the charges were made up. Only the slander that was said about him being sick and wolf in sheeps clothing being untrue being said to the media, police, and people in the community. It did say there was no criminal touching, but was that claimed in the first place by the child? Sexual assault the pastor was arrested for does not have to be a full rape as we all know with the laws about sexual harrassment now.

    For someone to up and move away with a child something must have happened bad to the child. So many times things happen that are just not provable it doesn’t mean something didn’t happen with that pastor.

    Since the police didn’t pursue him, I am leaning towards something happened that just wasn’t provable.

    • Unfortunately, what you are describing is exactly why 1) people don’t want to believe charges against a pastor in the first place, or 2) they consider someone guilty even when found innocent or the charges dropped.

      Ultimately, there is no way to know unless you’re one of the two or three people immediately involved – perpetrator or victim. Unless there is concrete evidence, everyone else is making a judgment call based on hearsay (hearsay is what other people said – that’s how it is viewed in court; doesn’t matter if it’s absolutely credible).

      In this case, I can see why a woman who had lost face in the community would move away. If she has made false sex abuse allegations against a pastor which has gotten her face time on TV, media coverage, people stopping her in the grocery store to commiserate, etc. and then she has to publically admit she lied? Plus she was a member of the school board so she would have almost certainly lost that position of trust. And she could be said to have a pattern of running away from difficult situations as she did in CA. Oh yes, I can see why she’d want to move far away.

      In the file it would not say – “the charges were made up” – that’s not correct legalese.

      The shadow that will follow Pruett is exactly what you’re saying though – what if? The charges have been dropped. What else could there be to prove him innocent? No matter what anyone did or said as far as language in the criminal file or statements to the press, someone else could think it was contrived or find a loophole that suggests a coverup. Unfortunately, they could also be right. There is just no way to know – and either way could be right – or either way could be wrong.

      Bottom line, however, in this country a man is still innocent until proven guilty. It would be wrong to assume he is guilty when there is no charge and nothing to go on.

  3. [Name edited] is back to her lies and games. I have been roomates with her daughter for the past year and a half and found out her accusations a month ago. Now, due to some differences between myself and her daughter, she has been harrassing myself and my family, telling everyone lies about how I am a thief and other stupid lies. I have contacted the police. I’m not sure if she is allowed, but she is residing back in Louisville. She hs given me her phone number, but I refuse to call because I want all conversations documented through email. Please feel free to email me with advice to keep this woman from spreading lies about good people.
    Thanks, Megan

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