Curtis Glendell Mathews, pastor of one of the oldest Black churches in the south was arrested late Tuesday night and accused of arranging sexual trysts with a juvenile, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Mathews, who for the last 15 years has served as pastor of the Springfield Baptist Church in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, was arrested at his home.
Investigators allege that Mathews, who is married to an associate pastor and who has four daughters and a son, met the Petersburg teen online and facilitated times for them to engage in sexual encounters. He used his cellphone as well to communicate messages that were sexual in nature with the child which is also against the law. The victim’s guardian discovered the illicit invitation and alerted police.
Court documents revealed that the 50-year-old reverend, who holds a divinity doctorate, told authorities that he is unemployed and collecting unemployment benefits. However a church official divulged that Mathews still holds his job as a pastor but had a second job which he no longer held.
The historic, 150-member church which was erected in 1867 had a motto on its website, “A Church Where Everybody is Somebody and Christ is All,” as well as “A Service of Excellency,” and as of Wednesday, Mathews was still listed as the pastor. Now, just one day later, the church’s website has been shut down indefinitely.
Petersburg police are delving into the case to determine if Mathews knew his victim prior to their online connection.
Congregants who have heard about the allegations against their beloved pastor are shocked. “He’s my pastor and since I’ve been going out there, he’s one of the best pastors that I’ve known to be there,” Deaconess Carolyn Diggs, chairman of the church’s diaconate told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Mathews now faces two felony counts of using communication devices to facilitate sex with a minor. He is being held without bail and a preliminary court date is set for April 19.