Royse City Pastor Arrested in Connection with Child Porn Investigation

By Marissa Alanis
The Dallas Morning News

September 12, 2008

Authorities arrested a Royse City pastor on Wednesday after executing a search warrant in connection with a child porn investigation.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents took the Rev. Steve Richardson, pastor of First United Methodist Church of Royse City, into custody at the church. Agents had searched his home and the church, where they seized his computer and other items.

Carl Rusnok, spokesman for ICE in Dallas, said agents executed the warrant based on credible leads. He said this was part of an ongoing investigation and declined to comment further. News of the pastor's arrest stunned the more than 100 members who gathered at the church Wednesday night.

"If you'd have heard the groans and crying that went on when this was announced it was shocking," church member Kat Elliott told WFAA-TV (Channel 8).

Mr. Richardson has been pastor at the church for two years. The church has put him on suspension.

"I've never seen anything since I've known Steven that would even hint at anything like this never," church member Richard Davis said.

"It was devastating, heartbreaking," associate pastor Cathy Partridge told WFAA. "Just that we are going through something whether it's true, whether it's not true we have strong people, and they'll pull together."

Staff writer Marissa Alanis contributed to this report.


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