Youth pastor accused of sending explicit text messages to teen

Authorities say a youth pastor in Marion County has been arrested, accused of sending explicit text messages to a 15-year-old girl in his youth group. 

Deputies with the Marion County Sheriff's Office say Christopher Patrick worked at Grace Baptist Church in Belleview.

Investigators say the parent of another child was made aware that “Pastor Chris” was sending inappropriate texts and images, and that parent then notified a school resource officer at a local high school and an investigation was initiated. 

Detectives said they obtained phone records from the victim’s phone, and recovered the sexually explicit messages and images that Patrick is accused of sending to the victim. 

Detectives said they also found messages from Patrick, telling the victim to "deny everything to the police and to tell everyone that it wasn’t him that she was talking to." 

Patrick denied knowledge of the text messages, authorities.  He was arrested and charged with obscene communication with a minor and cruelty toward a child for transmitting harmful information.