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Decatur church pastor’s phone hangs as he hurriedly tries to delete evidence of his sexual messages to a 15-year-old girl when police come knocking.

Decatur church pastor's phone hangs as he hurriedly tries to delete evidence of his sexual messages to a 15-year-old girl when police come knocking.
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Decatur church pastor’s phone hangs as he hurriedly tries to delete evidence of his sexual messages to a 15-year-old girl when police come knocking.

Police arrested and charged a former Decatur pastor who had been sending sexual messages to a minor. When authorities arrive at his home, the Decatur church pastor’s phone hangs as he hurriedly tries to remove proof of his sexual texts to a 15-year-old girl.

According to Sgt. Roger Pope of the Macon County Sheriff’s Office, Joseph M. Krol, the Decatur pastor, was caught taking his phone and manipulating the buttons while standing in the kitchen area before opening the door. Deputies rushed and grabbed his phone right away, as he tried to factory reset it in an attempt to delete all of the data. However, it was already too late, according to a sworn affidavit.

The 36-year-old, who currently pastors a church in Rochester, was detained Friday morning at an address in Dawson. The girl’s family, who live in Oreana, had already given over her phone to deputies, according to Pope. Krol had performed sexually provocative games with her on the phone and went as far as asking for her nude pictures, according to the evidence.

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In the affidavit, Pope stated, “(She) authorized me to take over her Snapchat account and act as her while chatting with Krol.” “Krol wanted photographs of (the girl) in her underwear throughout our discussions. He sent her a Snapchat video uninvited (showing the outline of his genitalia). He also questioned her about her desires, including her attraction to older males, in a sexually graphic manner.” Krol attempted to be cautious, Pope claimed, and if he thought he was chatting to the girl, he would ask her to pan the room with her phone camera to make sure no one else was present. After that, he’d email her sexually explicit material.

Krol was arrested on suspicion of grooming, which is defined as seeking to attract, persuade, coax, or entice a minor to conduct a sexual act. The pastor remained in prison Monday, according to Macon County Jail records, with bail set at $75,000, meaning he must pay a bond of $7,500 to be released. The state attorney’s office is required to evaluate any preliminary charges.

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