The wife of Woodrow Karey, 53, (pictured left) filed a rape complaint against Pastor Ronald Harris, Sr., 53, (pictured right) on September 25, two days before her husband walked into Tabernacle of Praise Worship Center in Lake Charles, Louisiana and shot and killed him while he was preaching in front of the congregation, said Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso.
Karey, who was once close friends with Harris, has been charged with second-degree murder and is currently being held on $1 million dollar bond.
“[A week before the actual shooting, Karey] stated that he had received some inappropriate images from his wife to Pastor Harris,” Sheriff Mancuso said. “Then, evidently, he confronted his wife and she filed a rape charge against Pastor Harris on Wednesday, September 25.”
After Karey killed Harris, he fled the scene but called the police soon after to turn himself in and lead them to the .22 caliber gun used in the shooting.
“There’s a lot of speculation as to what took place and the motive in this case and I’m going to tell you that we are going to proceed with great caution in this investigation,” he said. “You have so many rumors going on that it sometimes clouds the water for our investigation.”
“It’s my understanding that they were great friends at some point,” Sheriff Mancuso explained. “I’m sure we’re going to get responses from both sides saying that they are great people.”
Though rumors are running rampant that Harris was involved in a relationship with more than one woman in the congregation, Sheriff Mnacuso says their focus is on text messages between Harris and Karey’s wife. While the texts are reportedly sexual in nature, it is unclear whether the sexual relationship was consensual or if assault occurred.
“That’s where we are in this investigation,” he said. “At this time the charges against Mr. Karey are appropriate based on the information we have.”
Mancuso did make it clear that Karey’s wife did not file the rape complaint until after her husband allegedly found the texts.
See Sheriff Mancuso address the media below:
Mancuso reported that there are so many allegations levied against Harris that it will take weeks to get to the truth of the matter. Answering a reporter’s question, Mancuso also said that Karey may face a lesser charge as more information becomes available.