BRYAN, Texas – A minister from a Dallas-area Baptist megachurch was caught in an Internet sex sting and charged with online solicitation of a minor, police said Friday.
Undercover officers posing as a 13-year-old girl communicated with Joe Barron, 52, of Plano for about two weeks. The online conversations were sexual in nature, police said.
On May 6, Barron suggested meeting the girl in person. He eventually made the nearly 200-mile drive to Bryan on Thursday, when he was arrested. Police said they found a web-cam and condoms in his car.
Barron remained in Brazos County Jail on Friday on $7,000 bail. Police did not know if he had an attorney.
Barron is one of 40 ministers at Prestonwood Baptist Church, one of the largest churches in the country with 26,000 members. He ministers to married adults.
Mike Buster, executive pastor, said in a statement that the church had no record or knowledge of previous improprieties or saw any inappropriate behavior in the 18 months Barron was on the church staff.
Buster said church officials are fully cooperating with police.
"We are disturbed and saddened by the reports we have heard and we are praying for the Barron family," he said.