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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Pastor charged with sexual offenses
A Morristown minister has been charged with sexual offenses involving a 17 year-old Cocke County girl. James Ronald Messer, 46, Tom Treece Road, is pastor of Crossway Worship Center on West Highway 25/70 in Newport, according to Newport Patrol Officer Brandon Cassidy. The officer says the female confided in family members that she had been raped by her church pastor. The girl said at noon on Saturday her pastor picked her up at her workplace and took her to the church where he flirted with her and asked her several times to take off her clothes. Although the girl says she was scared,she took off her clothes and was raped on the floor of the church. Later the two went to to the Hartford area but the water was too muddy and swift, and so the pastor took her back to her place of employment and dropped her off. Newport Detective Jason Ramsey interviewed the victim and then also interviewed Messer. The pastor allegedly admitted to the sexual tryst but maintained the intercourse was consensual. Messer was arrested Saturday night on charges of Aggravated Statutory Rape and Sexual Battery By An Authority Figure.

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