‘Douche du Jour’: Florida Pastor Arnold Maurice Mathis Arrested on Child Sex Charges
An assistant pastor at a Florida church has been arrested and charged with child sexual battery for allegedly abusing a 14-year-old boy.
According to ABC Action News, 40-year-old Arnold Maurice Mathis of Winter Haven was arrested earlier Saturday and charged in connection with the alleged sexual abuse of the teenager. Mathis, who is an assistant pastor at Higher Praise Ministries in Lake Wales, was already a sex offender before this latest incident was reported.
The victim, who is now 21, told authorities that Mathis approached him at a basketball game and offered him money and new shoes. The teenager had confided in Mathis that he had no father figure in his life and believed the “man of God” wanted to mentor him. Mathis gave the boy his phone number; he called the next day.
When the victim went to Mathis’ home, the pastor sexually assaulted him. He then gave the boy $100 so that he could buy a pre-paid cell phone so that Mathis could reach him later. They repeatedly met over the course of the following two months, with Mathis giving the boy money and gifts after allegedly engaging in unlawful sexual activity with him.
Mathis now stands charged with five counts of Sexual Battery by a Person of Authority on a child over 12 under 18. As stated, this is not his first sexual offense. He was convicted of lewd and lascivious contact with a child in Leon County back in 1997, a crime which landed him on the Registered Sex Offender list. After serving four years for that crime, he was arrested twice more– in 2004 and 2007– for failing to register as a sex offender.
According to ABC Action News, Mathis is the third pastor in Polk County, Florida to be arrested on child sex charges this week. Ed Demoreta and Ricardo Navarro, two pastors at First Assembly Ministries’ youth group, have been charged with separately abusing a teenage girl on church property.
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