Ware Shoals pastor accused of sending sexually explicit text messages to teen

Published: Jul. 26, 2007 at 12:31 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 31, 2007 at 4:18 AM EDT
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WARE SHOALS, SC (WIS) - A South Carolina pastor is facing charges after a father found 20 sexually explicit text messages on his teenage daughter's phone.

Chief Mickey Boland of the Ware Shoals Police Department said that the 17-year-old's father called police after he found the messages from Pastor Claude Wallace on his daughter's phone.

The man said that the phone is in his name, and when he checked the phone, he realized who the messages were from, so he called police.

Wallace is the pastor of Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in Gaffney.

Police said that the teen had visited Wallace's church, but was not a member there.

The family said that Wallace had also been a guest preacher at the girl's family church before, and that is how they met.

Police said on the phone they found 21 messages from the girl to Wallace, and 20 messages from him to her.

Investigators said that the messages had been sent at all hours of the day and night between June 28 and July 21.

Wallace didn't deny the allegations.

"It's regrettable that the incident occurred. I feel that it was blown out of proportion by the media," Wallace said, "and certainly when you are in a high profile position, you know something like this is stretched to a different magnitude."

Wallace also said he believes he may have been targeted.

"I know somebody's behind this, but Jesus had haters, but you know with prayer we are going to get through this and good always overcomes evil," Wallace said.

Wallace wouldn't elaborate on what he meant.

"I don't feel that I need to elaborate on that right now because it eventually will surface, because this is something that should not have even have reached this status," Wallace said.

Wallace said his congregation is behind him.

"I've received nothing but hugs, love, and support from the church family and because they know my character," Wallace said.

Police said most of the messages were very sexually explicit and they did not make them public.

Some of the less explicit ones said "U know I want U real bad" and "Whatever u want me 2 do, I will do it."

Police said that the teen told them that she had no physical contact with Wallace, but that she had strong feelings for him and did not "want him to get in trouble."

Wallace, 43, is charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and unlawful use of a telephone.

Authorities say under state law, it's illegal to send a sexually explicit message over the telephone to anyone under age 18.

Wallace was booked into the Greenwood County Detention Center and later released on $10,000 bond.

Boland said he hopes the alleged incident reminds parents that they need to monitor their children's cell phone and internet usage.

Posted by Bryce Mursch