SC pastor sexually assaulted 3 female churchgoers during 'privat - WBTW-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Florence, SC

SC pastor sexually assaulted 3 female churchgoers during 'private prayer,' police say

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Durant (Source: WSPA) Durant (Source: WSPA)
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SUMTER, SC -

A Sumter pastor has been charged with sexually assaulting three female members of his church.

Police said that 58-year-old Larry Durant had been arrested and charged with two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor. He also faces four counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Police say family members told them Durant coerced the victims into having sex with him starting in 2011. Police say the Word International Ministry pastor told the victims the activity was part of the "healing process" and "private prayer."

"The manner in which he lured them in, we feel that at some level there's a strong potential that there may be other victims we're talking about a span of, right now, over two year," Sumter's Deputy Chief Alvin Holston told WLTX on Monday.

 "It appeared that he may have had a routine on gaining the trust and the private company of some of the juveniles."

According to court documents obtained by WLTX, as early as 2011, Durant offered private prayer session where he performed sex acts to heal the victims from "liking females, contracting sexual diseases or becoming pregnant early."

"If we take away just the church side of it all, but definitely using his position to encourage or influence others to, I would say, woo them in using his leadership position," Holston said.

Police say an alert parent contacted them last month, which helped lead to the arrest.

"A third party conversation got it rolling and the parent did the right thing by getting involved, having a conversation with the child and then from there they came and visited law enforcement center and we started our investigation about a month ago," Holston told WLTX.

Click here to watch a video report from WLTX

It wasn't known if Durant had an attorney. He is also charged with forgery after allegedly forging the name of one of the victim's grandmothers on property documents, which he then filed with Sumter County.

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