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Charismatic Pastor Charged with Sex Felonies

Anthony R. Morales, lead pastor of Miracle Center Fellowship Church, an independent charismatic congregation in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, was arrested this week after undercover officers with the Lancaster City Police cooperated with a 17-year-old victim to catch the pastor while he attempted to meet the girl for sex.

Morales, 33, allegedly sent nude images of himself to the underage girl and pressured her to have sex. Morales continued communicating with the girl after officers took over the girl’s phone on June 14 and arranged a meet-up.

He was charged with two counts of unlawful contact with a minor, sexual abuse of children/child pornography, two counts of disseminating explicit sexual materials to a minor, corruption of minors, and criminal use of a communication facility, according to the criminal complaint affidavit.

On Tuesday, Morales arranged to meet the victim for a sexual encounter, and acknowledged he knew she was under 18. Morales circled a nearby parking lot several times before parking his vehicle, where he was arrested.

A local paper reports the church did not respond to inquiries, and has taken down its web and Facebook pages, leaving other pages in disarray. Morales’ LinkedIn page still describes him as the church’s pastor, and says he started as lead pastor last December after serving as a pastor there from 2015-2017, at the same time he worked as a FedEx delivery driver. His personal website is inactive.

Morales was released from Lancaster County Prison after posting 10% of a $250,000 bond on Wednesday, and will face a preliminary hearing on June 22.

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Steve Rabey

Steve Rabey is a veteran author and journalist who has published more than 50 books and 2,000 articles about religion, spirituality, and culture. He was an instructor at Fuller and Denver seminaries and the U.S. Air Force Academy. He and his wife Lois live in Colorado.

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