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TENNESSEE: Preacher Arrested For Abusing Wife

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Preacher Ralph Oldham is charged with physically abusing his wifeA preacher is behind bars, charged with physically abusing his wife.  He was arrested early Monday morning, and now we're learning he has a long history of criminal actions.  Several people who live close to Ralph Oldham tell us he walks around with a Bible in one hand and a beer in the other.  They say he's preached at several locations, but spends more time in jail than in church.

47 year old Ralph Oldham claims to be a man of the Lord.  Neighbors say he's preached at various churches throughout Chattanooga, including at Harmony Baptist.  UPDATE: The pastor of Harmony Baptist, Michael Turner, says Oldham has NEVER preached there.

Tuesday afternoon, a member of the church confirmed he has preached to their congregation in the past.

But now, he's far from there, sitting in jail.  Police say he did what most preach against, physically abusing his wife.

Sgt. Jerri Weary says, "He had a bruised abrasion to her forehead and she said her husband had assaulted her after he accused her of hiding his prescription medication."

Police say Oldham's wife called officers early Monday morning, after he was asleep.  He was arrested and charged with domestic assault.  "In this case he was the primary aggressor, and a lot of it was based on his previous history."

That history includes page after page of arrests, beginning in 1994.  It includes 6 previous assault charges, along with 5 DUIs, and several public intoxication charges.

Those living nearby didn't want to speak on camera, because they were scared of how Oldham would react.  But they say the truth about his actions should be told to those he preaches to.

Oldham's record also includes theft, vandalism, trespassing, drug charges, and leaving the scene of an accident.