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Elderly Civil Rights Leader Charged With Incest

A civil rights leader who worked closely with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. has been charged with incest.

The Rev. James L. Bevel, 70, was arrested late last month in Alabama, where he has been living, after being indicted on one count of unlawfully committing fornication.

On Saturday, defense attorney Buta Biberaj said no plea had been entered yet and it would be premature for her to comment. A bail hearing is set for June 14.

Bevel appeared briefly in Loudoun County Circuit Court on Friday but did not speak.

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According to the indictment, the crime occurred in Loudoun County in northern Virginia between Oct. 14, 1992, and Oct. 14, 1994, when the accuser was 13 to 17 years old.

Bevel, who worked with King and witnessed his assassination in Memphis, Tenn., in 1968, has played a key role in some of the country's major civil rights protests.

He organized the 1963 Children's Crusade in Birmingham, Ala., and was a leader of the Freedom Rides to desegregate public accommodations throughout the South in the early 1960s. And he was an architect of the March on Washington in 1963 and the Selma-to-Montgomery march in Alabama in 1965. He also helped organize the Million Man March in Washington in 1995.

If convicted, Bevel could face up to 20 years in prison.

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