A Memphis pastor is facing criminal charges following allegations that he sexually assaulted a teen member of his congregation for over two years. Pastor Michael Bryant of the Church Of God In Christ in Shelby County was arrested this week finally, when the teen came forward with a relative seeking help amid the ongoing abuse.
According to Chip Washington, a spokesman for the county Sheriff’s Office, Bryant confessed to the abuse following his arrest and under questioning by authorities. Though he has admitted to the allegations against him, an investigation is ongoing as the church itself sat adjacent to an area daycare, causing residents and congregation members alike to worry about the presence of a pedophile in their community.
In the affidavit containing Bryant’s confession, it was also revealed that the teen’s mother had been aware of the sexual abuse by the pastor, but kept quiet, opting instead to pray for a solution, rather than contacting authorities. Additional, albeit unconfirmed reports suggest that the mother did at one point approach Bryant about the abuse, but was told to pray to God, as opposed to taking action.
Whether inspired by pastoral suggestion or merely a horrendous fundamentalist variety of negligence on her part, the teen’s mother is presently being held as equally responsible throughout the online court of public opinion.
No information has been release regarding any potential charges against the mother for her failure to report the ongoing abuse, but in the meantime police and community members are expressing relief that the offender is now behind bars.
Though area residents continue to express shock at the revelation, police are taking more tempered tone. When speaking with MyFoxMemphis, Clark had this to say,
[box type=”shadow”]“He’s behind bars where he needs to be. We’ll let the justice system take over from here.”[/box]
Bryant is currently being held on $1 million bond.