Sex rears its ugly head at Texas mega-church

Sex rears its ugly head at Texas mega-church May 18, 2008

WE”VE taken a hit from the enemy this week, but we will rise above it and respond to the challenge …

So said Texas-based Baptist pastor Dr Jack Graham when he addressed a shocked congregation at his Prestonwood mega-church yesterday.

The “enemy” appears to be the local Bryan police, who earlier in the week carted Prestonwood minister Joe Barron, 52, off to jail after he had driven from Plano to Bryan to meet with what he thought was a 13-year-old girl he had met online, authorities say.
According to the Dallas Morning News, the “girl” turned out to be a Bryan police officer working in an ongoing Internet sex sting.
Bryan police said Barron had spent about two weeks chatting online with the officer posing as a juvenile. They said he asked her to skip school so she could meet him in a parking lot. On the way there, he chatted with her by phone.
Police say they found a webcam and condoms in Barron’s car.
Barron, one of about 40 ministers at the 26,000-member Plano megachurch, has now resigned. He had worked there for about 18 months, ministering to married adults, ages 42 to 58.
If convicted, Barron could face up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for the second-degree felony.
He was released from the Brazos County Jail Friday night on $7,000 bail.
In a three-minute address, Dr Graham said his staff worked hard to earn the trust of its congregation. He promised that the church would continue to make sure it hired ministers and staff of the “highest character”.
Graham said it was a heartbreaking week in which “you need to know that we are appalled and we are disgraced by this terrible action, an unacceptable action, by a minister on our staff.”
He said that although the church had taken “a hit from the enemy”, he was confident and certain that in the days ahead “God is preparing us for something magnificent and wonderful in the ministry of this church. …We want to put this in our rearview mirror.”

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