MADISON COUNTY, Ala. - WHNT News 19 has confirmed that Michael Walker, the pastor recently arrested on charges of failing to report alleged abuse that a victim described to him, also served as a chaplain for the Madison County Sheriff's Office and their deputies at the jail. Police say Michael Walker's arrest is tied to the child sexual abuse case of the now former Madison County Sheriffs Investigator Roland Campos.
We have not confirmed whether Walker is currently serving as a chaplain. Walker serves as the pastor for Southside Baptist Church in Huntsville.
He is facing charges for violating the mandatory reporting law.
Pam Clasgens with the National Children's Advocacy Center (NCAC) explains what that law is, "Anyone who suspects child abuse, or if a child discloses child abuse to them, that means that they're required by law to report it."
In Alabama, under this law, members of the clergy are considered mandated reporters.
Clasgens explains, “While members of the clergy are mandated reporters, there are some exceptions and nuances to the law.”
Huntsville Police say the victim in the Campos case reported the abuse to Walker, but police say he refused to notify law enforcement or the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR).
Clasgens says clergy members should be aware of their role as mandated reporters, "That certainly should be part of the responsibilities that are covered when anyone takes a job in that sort of a position."
For failing to report, Walker could be found guilty of a misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to six months imprisonment or a fine up to $500.
Walker's lawyer tells WHNT News 19 that his client is not guilty of the charge and looks forward to presenting his side in court.