Police say a Newport, Tennessee, pastor faces rape charges following an alleged incident. James “Ronnie” Messer, was arrested for statutory rape, aggravated sexual battery and rape. Saturday night, officers responded after a 17-year-old girl told her family she had been raped by her church pastor at Cross Way Worship Center.
The juvenile told police she rode with Messer to the Cross Way Worship Center. She said she entered the back door of the church with Messer and went into a room where he allegedly started flirting with her and asked her several times to take her clothes off. The teen told police she felt scared, so she removed her clothes and lay on the floor, where Messer allegedly raped her.
In an interview with a detective, Messer reportedly admitted to having sex with the 17-year-old, but claimed it was consensual.