COGIC pastor Michael Bryant, 48, who had been a fugitive from justice, was arrested Wednesday morning on charges of sexual battery by an authority figure, reports Fox News.
Bryant was arrested by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office on an outstanding warrant, said SCSO spokesman Chip Washington.
Bryant is accused of sexually abusing a 16-year-old family member over a two year period.
“I think the saving grace behind all of this is he is behind bars,” Washington said. “He’ll have to face whatever the justice department issues out to him in terms of this thing and we’ll just move forward from there.”
“You feel bad for the victim and the family, but at least there’s some peace and solace now hopefully that this type of abuse won’t continue any further,” Washington said.
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Bryant is the pastor of the Hour of Restoration COGIC, located in a strip mall that next to a day care center.
Bryant was arrested by the task force inside the Delta Express gas station at Hickory Hill and Knight Arnold, down the street from the church.
Those who were inside Restoration Church of God in Christ refused to come out and speak with FOX13 News, but neighbors who live nearby said they’re concerned something like this could happen so close.
“There’s plenty of children, especially the little ones,” said Kaddesha Clark, neighbor. “There’s a day care here and there’s a school.”
“If he’s the one that’s supposed to lead people I’d expect him to have more morals about himself, especially with him messing with young girls,” added Eric Blakley, who lives near the church. “With him being a pastor telling people gospel and everything and then totally renege on it messing with a young girl, it’s crazy.”
SCSO said Bryant admitted to the crime after he was arrested. According to the affidavit of complaint, the teenage girl’s mother was aware of the alleged abuse for about a year, but that she, the mother, and Bryant would pray to remove the thoughts from the pastor’s head.
Bryant is being held at the Shelby County jail on a $1 million bond.