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  1. #1
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    Tock is offline Anabolic Member
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    May 2002
    Fort Worth

    Prestonwood Baptist minister arrested in sex sting

    This is making a bigger splash in the Dallas area than the California gay marriage thing . . .

    Prestonwood Baptist minister arrested in sex sting

    12:51 AM CDT on Saturday, May 17, 2008

    By TANYA EISERER and SAM HODGES / The Dallas Morning News

    A minister at Prestonwood Baptist Church faces a charge of online solicitation of a minor after police say he drove from Plano to Bryan to have sex with a 13-year-old girl.

    The "girl" was a police officer pretending to be a teenager as part of an ongoing Internet sex sting. Joe Barron, one of about 40 ministers at the 26,000-member megachurch, could face up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for the second-degree felony.
    Computer equipment was seized from Mr. Barron's home, and police said they were investigating evidence he had online conversations with more than a dozen girls.
    Bryan authorities say the minister began crying Thursday morning as police arrested him. "He said he was feeling guilt and shame and grief," said Bryan police Officer Lesley Malinak, a Police Department spokeswoman.
    Mr. Barron, 52, was released Friday evening from the Brazos County Jail after posting $7,000 bail. Neither he nor his attorney could be reached for comment.
    Church officials did not comment late Friday on Mr. Barron's current employment status. He has worked at Prestonwood for about 18 months as a minister to married adults, ages 42 to 58.
    "We are disturbed and saddened by the reports we have heard and we are praying for the Barron family," said Mike Buster, executive pastor at Prestonwood. "We are fully cooperating with the police in their investigation."
    Mr. Barron served from 2000 to 2003 as senior pastor at Northrich Baptist Church in Richardson, and before that was adult education pastor at First Baptist Church of Lewisville for 10 months, according to those churches.
    Bryan police said Mr. Barron had been chatting for about two weeks with the officer who he thought was a juvenile. Police declined to talk in detail about the conversations, but they said they were sexually explicit.
    On Tuesday, Mr. Barron asked the girl to skip school and meet him, police said.
    "Of course, our officers replied that they would," Officer Malinak said. "He had been on a business trip and was coming to see her after he was done with this business trip."
    Two days later, he made the three-hour drive to Bryan to meet the girl at a parking lot, chatting by phone with his potential victim on the way, police said. Police said he was arrested without incident.
    Inside the car, which Mr. Barron had borrowed from his wife, police found a box of 10 condoms, a Web camera and headset that authorities believe he was going to give the girl, police said.
    "It is common for people that are engaged in this type of activity" to give gifts to the minors that "they are grooming," Officer Malinak said.
    Bryan police discovered that Mr. Barron was a minister when he was asked during questioning what he did for a living, police said. "This is the first person that is this prominent that we've arrested" since undercover stings began in November 2006. Mr. Barron is the 12th man arrested in the stings.
    On Thursday, Bryan officers also searched Mr. Barron's Plano home, where they seized a desktop computer, two laptops, numerous computer disks and memory cards, police said.
    Prestonwood church staff also gave police officials access to his computer at the church, authorities said. Police did not seize the computer because church officials told police the church had software on the computer that would not allow a person to go into a chat room, Officer Malinak said.
    But she said church officials were going to have the computer checked to make sure "there's no inappropriate material" on it, she said.

    Bryan police also are looking into whether Mr. Barron may have engaged in previous sexual contact with minors.
    "Going through the computer equipment will be very telling," Officer Malinak said.
    She said it would be some time before authorities knew what the computers contained.
    Mr. Barron does not appear to have a criminal history.
    The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) has in recent years expanded its focus, with attention to abuse by Baptist pastors.
    "Baptist officials, we believe, need to compile a thorough, online database of proven, admitted and credibly accused pedophile clergy, so that kids can be protected and parents can be warned," said David Clohessy, SNAP national director.
    A work group of the Southern Baptist Convention has been studying the feasibility of such a database and will make a report at the denomination's annual meeting, set for next month in Indianapolis.
    Matthew Watkins of the Bryan-College Station Eagle contributed to this report.

    ================================================== ===========================

    Plano minister held in sex sting resigns

    12:00 AM CDT on Sunday, May 18, 2008

    By STELLA CHÁVEZ / The Dallas Morning News
    [email protected]

    PLANO – A Prestonwood Baptist Church minister arrested on charges of soliciting a minor online has resigned from the church, Pastor Jack Graham told his congregation Saturday evening.
    Dr. Graham addressed the crowd at the start of the church's regular worship service. He said the church had accepted Joe Barron's resignation, which took effect immediately.
    "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," Dr. Graham said. "I'm so sorry for the injury that this kind of behavior has brought to many people in our church and outside of our church."
    Police arrested Mr. Barron, 52, Thursday morning after he drove from Plano to Bryan to meet with what he thought was a 13-year-old girl he had met online, authorities say.
    The girl turned out to be a Bryan police officer working in an ongoing Internet sex sting.
    Bryan police said Mr. 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.
    Mr. Barron was one of about 40 ministers at the 26,000-member Plano megachurch. He'd worked there for about 18 months, ministering to married adults, ages 42 to 58.
    If convicted, Mr. Barron could face up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for the second-degree felony.
    Mr. Barron was released from the Brazos County Jail Friday night on $7,000 bail. Police were unsure if he had an attorney. He could not be reached for comment Saturday.
    Prestonwood's executive pastor, Mike Buster, said in a prepared statement that church officials had no record or knowledge of prior improprieties, nor had they observed any inappropriate behavior in the time Mr. Barron worked on staff.
    In his 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." "We've taken a hit from the enemy this week, but we will rise above and respond to the challenge ... ," he said, as church members applauded. "We are confident and certain that in the days ahead that God is preparing us for something magnificent and wonderful in the ministry of this church. ...We want to put this in our rearview mirror."

  2. #2
    HAVOKGT is offline Junior Member
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