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Tennessee Pastor accused of rape by son; charges dropped due to the statute of limitations

Nearly three decades after he said his father raped him, Asher Noe shares his story. Multiple accusations led to five rape charges against his father, Frank Noe.

CLAIBORNE COUNTY, Tenn. — A son said his father, an East Tennessee pastor, raped him. 

Prosecutors charged Frank Noe with five counts of rape, but the charges were dismissed because they were filed after the statute of limitations expired. Frank Noe is still a minister.

Typically, the names of victims of sexual assault are not shared, but Asher Noe said he has a story to tell.

"I had always had memories. I put them off as just bad notions, bad thoughts. I thought that that was just something to dismiss," Asher said. 

His mom, Jacqueline Daniels, feels the guilt behind the accusations but said she had no idea.

"You're supposed to protect your children, and God knows I loved them with everything in me that I had no clue," Daniels said.

 Asher said it started when he was less than 5 years old.

"There were multiple rapes. [It was] constant enough in my childhood that there are enough instances that they almost ran together," Asher said.

He said he was scared to say anything because he thought no one would believe him.

"I assume they wouldn't believe me. Why would you believe me? It's the kind of the thought process I had," Asher said. 

25 years later, when it came to his kids, he felt he had no choice but to accuse his own father of rape.

"My wife was the first to realize that there were some odd behaviors that my father exhibited towards them. I then took notice they got worse and worse and more prevalent, and that's kind of where we decided that that's kind of where I decided that it was time," Asher said. 

He reported the allegations to the Claiborne County Sheriff's Office. Detectives investigated and sent their findings to Assistant District Attorney Graham Wilson.

He charged Frank Noe with five counts of rape. Deputies arrested Frank in October 2020.

"I was shocked that anybody took me seriously because my entire life, I have been told if you tell anybody, nobody's going to believe you," Asher said. 

He called it a moment of relief. Until he found out of a law that existed at the time of the alleged crime. It allowed for charges and convictions to apply up to and only to 15 years. 

In a letter of dismissal, Wilson wrote, "The statements made by the victim, Asher Noe, are credible and would support a conviction of this defendant." 

Jacqueline Daniels, who is now divorced from Frank Noe, said she feels she failed to protect her son.

"I should have protected him. Didn't do well as a mom is supposed to do. I wish I could go back," Daniels said. 

In a phone conversation, Frank told WBIR that the allegations are flat out false. Frank agreed to a sit-down interview. However, after multiple attempts to contact Frank, he did not return our calls.

Asher said he knows he'll never quite get the justice he wants, but he hopes this sends a clear message to other survivors: it's never the wrong time to speak your truth.

"It's not something that's easy to talk about, but I do think it's important we talk about it because that's the only way that you're going to be able to end these kinds of things, is if you go public with them," Asher said.