LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Bellview Baptist Church leaders say their pastor has been fired following his arrest on rape charges Monday.
Pastor John Ward, 45, of Westlake, was arrested Monday on 10 counts of first-degree rape, 40 counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile and two counts of pornography involving a juvenile. Authorities say Ward admitted that he had been molesting a girl over a two-year period, beginning when she was 9. Bond is set at $640,000.
Bellview leaders say Ward was fired “because of his sexual immorality and failure to maintain the high standard of integrity for the office of Pastor outlined in the Bible.”
Bellview Baptist released a statement Wednesday through Bruce Baker, director of Missions at Carey Baptist Association. Bellview is a member of the Carey association.
Bellview Baptist Church leaders are cooperating fully with the Sheriff’s office in the investigation. The Deacons, in consultation with Carey Baptist Association, unanimously voted to immediately terminate Ward’s employment with the congregation because of his sexual immorality and failure to maintain the high standard of integrity for the office of Pastor outlined in the Bible.
Church leaders immediately met with the victim’s family to minister to them in their grief and to offer to help underwrite the counseling needed to help the child and other members of the household to heal.
The Deacons also offered to continue to provide financial support to the wife of the fired pastor as well as to minister to the spiritual and emotional needs of her and her family.
The Carey Baptist Association and the Louisiana Baptist Convention have connected with church leaders to coordinate various resources that are available to the church in meeting these various commitments.
Bellview Baptist Church leaders request prayer, respect, and privacy as we process this traumatic event.