Sunday, May 18, 2008

Another one bites the dust

Pastor says minister arrested in sex sting has resigned
PLANO, Texas — A minister who was arrested in an Internet sex sting has resigned his position at a Dallas-area megachurch, the pastor said Saturday.

The Rev. Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, said during services Saturday that the church has accepted Joe Barron's resignation, effective immediately.

Barron was charged Friday with online solicitation of a minor. Undercover officers posing as a 13-year-old girl communicated with the 52-year-old Plano man for about two weeks. The online conversations were sexual in nature, police said.

On May 6, Barron suggested meeting the girl in person. He eventually made the nearly 200-mile drive to Bryan on Thursday, where he was arrested. Police said they found a web-cam and condoms in Barron's car.

Barron was released from the Brazos County Jail on Friday night on $7,000 bail. Police were unsure if he had an attorney.

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."

The pastor said he was eager to move on.

"We want to put this in the rearview mirror," Graham said. "We will handle anything we need to handle in terms of our responsibilities and obligations, and any ongoing investigation.

"But our purpose and our prayer and our priority will continue to be to lift up the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and to do it in a responsible and accountable way."

Prestonwood Baptist Church is one of the largest churches in the country with 26,000 members and 40 ministers.

No comments: