MAGNOLIA, Texas — Investigators released disturbing details Friday in the alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl who claims she was forced into a sexual relationship with her pastor, and her mother gave her to the man fearing that if she didn’t, the teen would lose her soul, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said.
SWAT officers arrested pastor Ronald Wayne Mitchell, 56, at The Body of Christ Ministry around 7 p.m. Monday and charged him with sexual assault of a child. The church, which sits in the 40200 block of Garwood Court in Magnolia, doubles as the pastor’s home, court documents said.
Editor’s note: On Friday, November 4, a version of this story included a photograph of Spring Creek Fellowship in Tomball. Ronald Wayne Mitchell sold this building to Spring Creek Fellowship in 2015, and Spring Creek Fellowship is not associated with Mitchell of his ministries.
Investigators said the victim was a member of Mitchell’s church and was sent to live there for at least 21 days at Mitchell’s request in November 2015. The teen’s mother tried to get her daughter back after the time period had passed, but the pastor refused and said “God would kill her.” The teen was forced to live with Mitchell’s wife, her sister and other church members, and was forced to have sex with the pastor on multiple occasions.
The teen girl said Mitchell would lock her in his dimly lit room and would play “old people music” when he was assaulting her.
The sexual assaults not only occurred at his home, but Mitchell would travel with the girl, taking her to hotels in Galveston and San Antonio, she said. The victim said Mitchell has even taken her as far as Las Vegas.
The teen said she would write journal describing her sexual experiences with Mitchell. Investigators said the notes may still be at the pastor’s home. Mitchell told the victim if she talked to anyone about their sexual relationship, God would smite her and she would drop dead.
Mitchell’s wife allegedly took the victim to a clinic in Conroe for birth control shots. The teen said Mitchell’s wife would tell clinic staff that she was the girl’s mother. Investigators said the clinic provided records showing Mitchell’s wife brought the child to its location on two occasions for birth control shots.
The victim’s mother was also subjected to physical abuse, court documents said.
Mitchell snatched a ball of the mother’s hair and dragged her out of her chair once because she fell asleep while he was talking, according to court documents. In a written statement, investigators said the victim described several times when Mitchell physically abused her.
Investigators said Mitchell told his victims being too close to a family member or any person was against the will of God, and Mitchell would beat them as punishment for the “sin.” People living in the home with Mitchell told investigators he called it a “flesh thing.”
Investigators said a 9-year-old girl who was also living with the pastor said Mitchell would periodically slap her in the face, claiming he saw a spirit.
Mitchell set up surveillance cameras around the home and purchased several guns in preparation for “hard times,” such as economic hardship or the rapture, court documents said. One victim said Mitchell remotely controlled the cameras from different laptops.
It wasn’t until mid-September when the mother reached out to the Magnolia Police Department, asking for officers to take the teen away from the home. Court documents said she didn’t know about the alleged sexual abuse until a couple of days later.
Deputies said investigators found evidence related to the case at Mitchell’s home, as well as a large collection of weapons and ammunition. It isn’t clear whether he was licensed to have the weapons.
Mitchell was booked into the Montgomery County Jail in Conroe.
The pastor’s family made a cash payment toward his $250,000 bail, but authorities said Mitchell will remain in custody until officers confiscate his passport, the victim’s parents are notified and the pastor receives a GPS bracelet.
Investigators said Mitchell leads the church from several locations including Tomball, South Houston and Montgomery County. Officers believe there may be other victims who have yet to come forward.
Anyone with information involving the case is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 936-760-5876 or Montgomery County Crime Stoppers at 800-392-STOP (7867).