Crime & Courts

SC pastor arrested after alleged sex crime against teen, reports say

The pastor of an Aiken church is charged with sex crimes after police say he forced himself onto a teenager.

Lorenzo Renard Washington, the pastor at Mt. Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Aiken, is accused of criminal sexual conduct with a high school student, the Spartanburg Herald Journal reported.

The alleged assault happened at a Dorman High School athletic event on Jan. 22 in Spartanburg County.

Police said that Washington, a member of the school’s booster club at the time of reported incident, “forced himself on the female victim in a concession stand area,” Fox Carolina reported.

An investigator said in an incident report that Washington touched the victim over her clothes and kissed her on the neck and mouth, according to the Herald Journal.

The victim told school officials, and they immediately contacted law enforcement. While the investigation occurred, Washington was barred from all school events, a school district spokesperson said.

The victim gave investigators a detailed statement, WSPA reported.

Monday, investigators interviewed Washington. He denied the allegations, Lt. Kevin Bobo of the Spartanburg sheriff’s office told the Herald Journal. The Aiken pastor was scheduled for another interview later in the week with police but canceled. Police obtained an arrest warrant from a magistrate. When police interrogated Washington a second time, he maintained his innocence.

On Friday, Washington was booked at Spartanburg County Detention Center.

He is charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor and second-degree attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

At a Saturday hearing, a judge gave him a $20,000 bond, which he posted. He’s also required to wear a location tracker.

Washington is the former pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Spartanburg County and also has served at a church in Newberry, Bobo said.

Washington is the second Upstate church leader to be charged with sexual abuse of a minor this week.

David Travis Bland: 803-413-8485, @dtravisbland

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David Travis Bland won the South Carolina Press Association’s 2017 Judson Chapman Award for community journalism. As The State’s crime, police and public safety reporter, he strives to inform communities about crimes that affect them and give deeper insight into victims, the accused and law enforcement. He studied history with a focus on the American South at the University of South Carolina.