Avon church to hold forum on abuse

Kingsway Christian Church will host the forum Thursday at 7 p.m.

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 local church is arming parents with information to help them protect their children from predators.

During an open forum Thursday night at Kingsway Christian Church in Avon, police plan to expose how predators operate. The forum comes after Eyewitness News broke the story of a former church elder who was arrested on child sex crime charges.

Like a lot of people at Kingsway Christian Church, mom Lori Roberts is looking for answers. Two weeks after Eyewitness News first reported the allegations against former church elder Daniel Keller, she'll get her chance during an open forum with police and child abuse experts.

"Obviously, there is no 100 percent way, I wish there was, to protect our children. So I think we just have to be very involved," Roberts said.

"This will be a chance to also train parents," said lead pastor Matt Nickoson.

Nickoson organized the open forum for all parents. Earlier this month, he immediately contacted police after learning about a teenage boy's allegations against Keller. Although no abuse of any kind happened at the church or its school, police want parish members to know how to talk about it with their children.

"Train parents and prepare them how to have a conversation with my kinds, how do I protect my kinds? So we will be able to win on a lot of fronts," Nickoson said.

While police can't say much about their ongoing investigation into Keller at Thursday's forum, they will expose predatory behavior patterns.

Because of the sensitive nature of the topic, parents and even children will have a chance for one on one to talk about how to report abuse of any kind.

"Dialogue in a similar environment and to answer some more specific questions," Nickoson said.

Police have not ruled out more charges against Keller as they wait for more victims to come forward. Investigators say they will protect the identities of victims who come forward on any abuse case, including the Keller investigation.

The open forum on protecting your child from predators starts at 7 p.m. at Kingsway Christian Church in Avon.