LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A former church employee was arrested March 14 and accused of allegedly sending sexual photos and videos to an investigator in an undercover probe.
Nicholas James Lynch, 33, who worked as a research assistant and curriculum writer at Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky., was arrested following a month-long investigation, according to the Kentucky attorney general's office. He was charged with prohibited use of an electronic communication system to procure a minor for a sex offense, WKYT reported.
Through a social media app, Lynch allegedly sent a minor sexual images of himself and requested sexual images of the minor. He also reportedly said he discussed meeting the minor to perform sex acts and livestreamed video of himself to detectives while engaging in sexual contact, the attorney general's office said.
Investigators determined some of Lynch's alleged illegal communications occurred at the church's facility. Authorities interviewed him at the facility, where he reportedly admitted discussing sex and sending images to a minor he met online.
In a statement from Aaron Harvie, senior pastor at Highview, the church said the congregation was "devastated" about what has happened.
"As far as we know from the limited information we've received, the accusations against Nick do not involve anyone else associated with Highview Baptist Church, our school or any of our ministries," the pastor said in the statement.
The church said in the statement it would be transparent and share appropriate information with its members, Kentucky Today reported.
"We are shocked by the nature of the accusations, but we also know that we live in a fallen and broken world and we pray for Nick," the statement said. "We are cooperating fully as the investigation and legal process unfold."
Lynch is a former doctoral student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) in Louisville. He was not enrolled in any courses for this academic year, a spokesperson for the seminary told the Biblical Recorder.
"In any situation where a student is subject to criminal charges, or any serious moral charge, and/or their local church rescinds their affirmation, that student is withdrawn immediately until the matter is resolved," SBTS said.
Written by Baptist Press, official news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.