A former Southern Baptist pastor who had promoted a strict anti-abortion law in Texas was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a teenage parent for five years, authorities said Sunday.
Stephen Bratton, a former pastor of the Grace Family Baptist Church in Houston, was arrested on Friday under the charge of continuing sexual abuse of a child, church officials and church officials said. forces of order.
Bratton, 44, reportedly began mistreating the girl in 2013, when she was 13, including several times a day, the Harris County Sheriff's Office said in a statement. They did not say how the two were related.
Church officials said that they had learned of the existence of alleged assaults last month when Bratton confessed to two other pastors. They filed a police report on May 16 and excommunicated Bratton a week later, they said Saturday in a statement.
"The elders called on Stephen Bratton to take full responsibility for his actions and to put himself at the mercy of the criminal justice system," the statement said.
It was not immediately clear whether Bratton had a lawyer.
The Associated Press reported that Bratton, a father of seven, had supported a state law that would have criminalized abortion and indicted homicide women who had undergone the procedure.
"Anyone who authorizes or commits a murder is guilty," Bratton said at a hearing for the bill, according to the AP. "They are already guilty in a court much heavier than what is happening here in Texas."
The bill never got a vote, reported the AP.