BAYTOWN, Texas (KTRK) -- A Baytown pastor accused of soliciting a minor has been arrested.
The pastor has been identified as 55-year-old Lawrence Hopkins, the Montgomery District Attorney's Office said, adding that Hopkins may have worked as a youth pastor in Midlothian, a suburb of Dallas, and College Station.
Hopkins was an associate pastor at Rollingbrook Fellowship in Baytown, ABC13 has learned. We reached out to Rollingbrook to speak to someone and was told that everyone at the church was on vacation and would not return until Monday.
Precinct 3 arrested Hopkins as part of a multi-agency operation to capture people who have been "actively seeking to sexually exploit children via the internet in Montgomery County," authorities said in a release.
Nine people, including Hopkins, were arrested. He has been charged with online solicitation of a minor.
- Thomas J. Manno, 39, Shippenville, Pennsylvania - Promotion of child pornography
- Robert Clarence Clayton, 27, Channelview, Texas - Online solicitation of a minor
- Isaac Anthony Marino, 30, Houston, Texas - Online solicitation of a minor
- Francisco Xavier Garza, 29, Spring, Texas - Online solicitation of a minor and possession with intent to deliver - methamphetamine
- Elijah Charles Lewis, 24, Houston, Texas - Online solicitation of a minor
- Ahsan Shah, 36, Houston, Texas - Online solicitation of a minor
- Lawrence Clayton Hopkins, 55, Baytown, Texas - Online solicitation of a minor
- Edward Stewart Geddes, 42, Houston, Texas - Online solicitation of a minor and tampering with evidence
- Clinton Brian Harvey, 44, Dickinson, Texas - Online solicitation of a minor and unlawful carrying of a weapon
Rollingbrook Church sent the following statement regarding Hopkins' arrest:
On Friday, June 24, we learned a painful and heartbreaking reality that causes us to carefully acknowledge grief, loss, and the ever-needed presence of our Savior. We bring forth to you the truth in the hope that transparency and humility will unite us in our Lord.On Thursday, June 23, 2022, Rollingbrook Fellowship's (Baytown's First Baptist Church) then Associate Pastor, Dr. Lawrence Clayton Hopkins, was arrested by the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department for online solicitation of a minor during an operation to fight the exploitation of children. Consequently, Dr. Hopkins' employment at Rollingbrook Fellowship was immediately terminated.We are grateful to the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department for their efforts to protect our children and pursue those who would seek to harm them. We are cooperating fully with the authorities.Dr. Hopkins' actions oppose the message of the Gospel and have caused immense pain to both his immediate family and his church family. We humbly ask for your prayers. Our hearts find hope in God's faithfulness, and we will stand firm on the promise: "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."RF will continue to proclaim the Good News in a fallen world: that Jesus Christ forgives the repentant sinner and is "the way, the truth, and the life."
Authorities say all of the above people are still under investigation and could face additional charges.
The district attorney's office is encouraging other victims to come forward. Anyone with information can contact Det. Sean Bridges with Montgomery County Constable's Office Precinct 3 at 936-538-3438.
Another man who was arrested, Harvey, was a Montgomery County juvenile detention officer. Anyone with information on Harvey should contact Det. Derrick Dunn with the Conroe Police Department at 936-760-6918.