Lubbock Pastor Arrested for Allegedly Forcing Girl in to Prostitution - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/6/06

Lubbock Pastor Arrested for Allegedly Forcing Girl in to Prostitution

Lubbock Sheriff's Office Lubbock Sheriff's Office

A Lubbock pastor is behind bars. Investigators say he offered to bring a foreign woman to the South Plains for an education. What she didn't know was that she would reportedly be paying with sex. NewsChannel 11's Jennifer Vogel has been tracking this story from Lubbock to Levelland.

Investigators have been working over a month collecting e-mails and recorded conversations. And what they found was a pastor who allegedly offered to be an American sponsor, but turned out to want more.

Investigator Kevin Davis said, "The first night she got here as a matter of fact things went wrong." The 21-year-old victim met James Clark in her hometown in Kenya in August 2005. Clark was the current pastor at the Mount Vernon United Methodist Church in Lubbock.

The affidavit says Clark told the victim he was on a church mission trip. According to documents he promised the 21-year-old girl an education and a better life. That promise brought a 21-year-old girl from Kenya all the way to Levelland to go to South Plains College. But it was the first night she was here when things started to go wrong. Davis said, "After she'd been in college a week or so, he began to tell her it was time to pay back the loan. It was not her understanding this was a loan, it was her understanding this was a mission effort."

The victim knew something was wrong and confided in her college counselor. She said she was being forced into prostitution. She then told investigators, "I only had sex with him because I was afraid he would have me deported if I did not have sex with him."

"When we see a person in a place of trust, like a pastor, who is engaging in sexual exploitation of someone less fortunate it's hard to fathom, it really is hard to fathom." Davis says they have e-mails and recorded conversations that detail their relationship.

In one e-mail conversation, Clark wrote, "If you do have sex, then charge me for it; suppose I ask you for sex every time you ask me to pay your bills..."

A few days ago, the victim recorded a conversation at Clark's home where he told the victim she could stay if she had sex with him and his friends. Davis warns, "Other women may be in the same position as our victim. There may be females out there who think he is in control, I can assure you he is not in control."

Clark is in Hockley county jail on a $150,000 bond. He could face 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine on "compelling prostitution by force" charges. He's expected to be charged with "human trafficking" in federal court next week.

The investigation continues, and of course we'll keep you updated as we get more information.

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