Civil rights leader James Bevel charged with incest

Published: Jun. 9, 2007 at 6:19 PM CDT
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LEESBURG, Va. (AP) - A civil rights leader who worked closely with the Rev. Martin Luther King Junior has been arrested in Alabama and charged in Virginia with incest.

Authorities said 70-year-old Reverend James L- Bevel was arrested late last month in Eutaw, Alabama, after being indicted by a Loudoun County, Virginia grand jury on one count of unlawfully committing fornication.

In Leesburg, Virginia, Police spokesman Lieutenant Jeff Dube says the indictment followed a complaint to police in September of 2005. According to the indictment, the crime occurred between October 14th of 1992, and October 14th of 1994, when the accuser was 13 to 17 years old.

Virginia has no statute of limitations for felonies. Defense attorney Buta Biberaj said today (Saturday) that no plea has been entered in the case yet and that it would be premature for her to comment.

A bond hearing is set for June 14th. Bevel appeared briefly yesterday (Friday) in Loudoun County Circuit Court but did not speak.

Bevel has been credited with playing a key role in some of the country's major civil rights protests.

He organized the 1963 Children's Crusade in Birmingham and was a leader of the Freedom Rides to desegregate public accommodations throughout the South in the early 1960s.

He also was an architect of the March on Washington in 1963 and the Selma-to-Montgomery march in Alabama in 1965.

And he helped organize the Million Man March in Washington in 1995. If convicted of the incest charge, Bevel could face up to 20 years in prison.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)