TERRELL, Texas — A family man who says God called him to preach has been arrested in the alleged rape of a woman while he traveled to a church revival.
Forty-one-year-old Matthew Jarrell, of Terrell, said nothing as reporters hurled questions at him while he was hauled off in handcuffs by authorities in West Virginia.
For seven years, Jarrell was the pastor of the Open Door Baptist Church in Mesquite. He is now facing a felony charge of sexual assault. Sheriff deputies in Charleston, West Virginia say he raped a 36-year-old woman he picked up in a bar.
The Open Door Web site previously featured a photo of Jarrell with his wife and four young children. It quoted him as saying, "Many of our churches have tried modern morals and values, which all have failed."
The charge has left Jarrell's associate pastor struggling to match the preacher's words with his alleged deeds.
"Let the courts prosecute him," said Rik Parcell. "We love him; we want to help him in every way. We want to help the family in every way, but we are not sweeping anything under the carpet."
As authorities investigated Pastor Jarrel's past, investigators got another shock.
"Our detectives have discovered Mr. Jarrell has additional similar charges pending in Texas," said Lt. Sean Crosier of the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department.
In 2007 in San Antonio, he was indicted for a sexual assault. That case was supposed to go to trial last month, but it was delayed.
At Maddog Ranch, Jarrell's sprawling property near Terrell, the pastor's wife refused to comment on either charge. She did say she was supporting her husband.
At last check, Matthew Jarrell was still in a West Virginia jail. His bail is set at $75,000.
The church's Internet site was blank on Saturday morning, except for this message:
Thank you for visiting and we covet your prayers during this difficult time.
We will update this site as more information is available. However, during this time, we will continue to serve the Lord as we have for the past 46 years.
Hope to see you Sunday,
The Entire Church Membership