Avon church elder arrested for child molestation

Daniel Keller
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Updated: .

September 2013 update: Criminal deviate conduct charges against Daniel Keller were dismissed as part of a plea agreement, but he was convicted on an intimidation charge.

Original story:

A former church elder is facing child molestation charges involving a 16-year-old boy.

Avon Police arrested Daniel Keller, 46, last week. Keller posted a $100,000 bond and is now out of jail. He faces three counts of criminal deviate conduct in connection with 2007 incidents that allegedly took place at Keller's home.

The case was brought to light by the lead pastor at Kingsway Christian Church, who alerted police after learning of the allegations. Churches are one of the agencies required by law to report child abuse of any kind.

"I didn't know Indiana law so I had to look into it; I don't know what Indiana law states. As soon as I found out, it was reported," said Matt Nickoson, Kingsway Christian Church pastor.

The victim told police in 2007, he started spending the night at Keller's home. He had children around the same age as the alleged victim, who was 16 at the time. The Kellers live in The Reserve at Bridgewater subdivision in Avon.

According to the victim, Keller invited a number of students from Avon High School to watch movies. That's when the alleged molestation started.

"The 16-year-old was very distraught, upset, and embarrassed," said Det. Dean Stoops, Avon Police Department. According to Stoops, the alleged victim said he didn't know who to tell, or how to explain what happened. 

Keller would reportedly share a blanket the victim during the movie to keep warm. Then he says Keller made a pallet for him stay overnight. The teen says he woke up to find Keller touching him and telling him to never share their "secret." According to court documents, the victim feared telling anyone, and police say that's often how predators remain undetected.

The victim also told police Keller's wife talked with him, admitting she was jealous that her husband sent more text messages to the 16-year-old boy than to her. The teen says when Keller's wife asked about any weird behavior between the two, he wanted to tell her about the abuse but thought the wife would not believe him. He also feared losing their daughters' friendship.

The victim told police he feared he is not the only victim because one day Keller showed up at another boy's house to pick him up. Keller didn't know that the 16-year-old was there, and the victim told police he secretly saw Keller kiss the boy on the mouth before they exited the house. The victim says that boy worked at one of the McDonald's restaurants where Keller served as a supervisor or manager.

The alleged victim has had no further contact with Keller or his family members.

Det. Stoops arrested Keller on three counts of criminal deviate conduct last Friday. They also executed search warrants confiscating several electronic devices, including two thumb drives, an iPhone, an iPad and his desk top personal computer.

Police say Keller even warned them that they would find pornography on his computer, which investigators believe he showed to the victim. Police suspect there are more victims afraid to come forward.

According to court documents, Keller is a regional manager over several McDonald's restaurants. The male victim who brought the accusations against Keller told them he once witnessed inappropriate behavior between Keller and a teenage who works at McDonald's.

"He does hold some positions that put him in situations where he would encounter young adolescences to juveniles around the age of 16," said Det. Stoops.

Although Keller is no longer an elder at the church, if there are other victims, Det. Stoops is encouraging them to come forward.

"It's okay to talk about it go to an adult, go to your parent, go to a teacher, a counselor or pastor," he said.

Sources tell Eyewitness News that one of Keller's business partners posted ten percent of the bond to get him out of jail following his arrest Friday, October 2nd.

Keller was listed as an elder on the church website until his arrest.