John Michael Ward, 45, a Louisiana pastor was arrested on Monday for allegedly raping an 11-year-old girl. Police say the assault was carried out on a frequent basis for a two-year period. The pastor at Bellview Baptist Church in Westlake, Louisiana was charged with 10 counts of first-degree rape, 40 counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile and two counts of pornography involving a juvenile.
Bellview Baptist Church belongs to an association of churches named the Carey Baptist Association which whose communications director Bruce Baker issued a statement on the matter. “We are heartbroken,” Baker wrote. “The church and the association of churches are devastated. We are mobilizing resources to care for the family, church and community.”
Ward has since admitted to molesting the girl over the two year period and said he even videotaped her while she was nude on more than one occasion. His bail was set at $640,000.