A pastor from a church in Waco, Texas, that actively fought human trafficking has been arrested on a prostitution charge.
Edward Ignacio Espinosa, 41, resigned from Antioch Community Church in December, following a confession that he had paid for sex at a massage parlor in October, the Waco Tribune-Herald reported, citing an arrest affidavit.
A senior pastor said Espinosa was placed on administrative leave, “once he confessed his sin,” and the church conducted an internal investigation.
Espinosa later resigned. He had been with the church for eight years.
“Ed’s conduct was not only inappropriate but directly against our values and policy as a church and as the people of God," the senior pastor said. "We continue to be committed to helping heal whatever is broken, whether on behalf of the victim or the victimizer, we believe restoration is still possible through Jesus Christ.”
Espinosa was arrested on a misdemeanor charge Thursday that stemmed from a police investigation that targeted two massage parlors in Waco between September and November. Video footage of hundreds of men paying for sex acts during massages prompted authorities to raid the business in December.
The alleged business operator, Chun Yang Zhang, 47, was charged with human trafficking and accused of forcing women – who were all Asian and didn’t speak English – to engage in prostitution.
Espinosa was held at McLennan County jail Thursday afternoon on a $1,000 bond. By Thursday night he was released, authorities said.