Friday, May 23, 2008

Texas Megachurch Pastor Arrested

Prestonwood Baptist Church is one of the largest megachurches in Texas. Indeed, it is one of the largest megachurches in the world. Located in Plano, a wealthy suburb north of Dallas, the church's 7000-seat worship center looms over the North Texas landscape. Some 26,000 church members are accommodated in four worship services there each weekend. I remember as a college student driving past the church and mistaking it for an aircraft hanger. We humorously referred to the church as "Prestonworld."

News recently broke that one of the pastors of Prestonwood has been arrested in a sex sting near Houston. On May 15th, Joe Barron, pastor of married adults at Prestonwood, drove 200 miles from Plano to the city of Bryan, where he had apparently made online arrangements to meet up with a 13-year-old girl for sex. That 13-year-old girl turned out to be a police officer, who promptly arrested Barron. Also confiscated from his car was a box of condoms as well as a webcam and computer headset that Barron was apparently planning to give to the girl to facilitate their online relationship.

Police report that Barron is one of 12 men arrested since the city of Bryan began its sex sting operation in November of 2006.

hat tip: Dispatches from the Culture Wars

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