Pastor accused of molestation is removed as head of city GOP

A Rhode Island pastor charged with molesting a child has been removed as the head of the Providence Republican Party.

Roy D. Bolden Jr., of the Legions of Christ Ministries, was arraigned Wednesday on child molestation and sexual assault charges. Police say a 21-year-old man reported that Bolden began molesting him when he was 12 years old, and the abuse went on for years.

Rhode Island Republican Party chairman Brandon Bell says the allegations have taken him and the state party's central committee by surprise.

The 33-year-old Bolden was elected to a four-year term as chairman of the Providence Republican City Committee in 2015.

Bell says that while Bolden is entitled to the presumption of innocence, he has been removed as chairman.

Bolden did not return messages seeking comment.