A Plano mega church minister was taken into custody Thursday after authorities say he drove to Bryan, Texas, to have sex with a person he thought to be a 13-year-old. Joe Barron, a minister at Prestonwood Baptist Church, is accused of online solicitation of a minor.
According to Bryan police, Mr. Barron had been chatting for about two weeks with the person that he thought to be a juvenile. "The online conversations were sexually explicit in nature," the release said.
On Tuesday, Mr. Barron asked if the girl could meet him in person, police said. Two days later, he made the three-hour drive to Bryan to meet the girl.
Undercover officers arrested him upon his arrival, police said. In his vehicle, police said they found web-cam and headset as well as condoms, police said.
Bryan officers also searched Mr. Barron’s Plano residence where they seized a desktop, two laptops, numerous computer disks and memory cards, police said.
Prestonwood church officials also gave police officials access to his computer at the church, authorities said.
"We are disturbed and saddened by the reports we have heard and we are praying for the Barron family. We are fully cooperating with the police in their investigation," said Mike Buster, Prestonwood's executive pastor, in a statement.
The church, which as 26,000 members and 40 ministers, would not provide further information about Mr. Barron.