Richmond pastor Matthew Mellerson is facing felony charges after police said he had sex with a number of male inmates while serving as a chaplain in the local jail.
Mellerson, who had previously worked as a Richmond Sheriff's Deputy, was arrested on charges that he used his position of authority within the jail to have sex with inmates. As WWBT reported, police said Mellerson had sexual contact with at least three male victims on a series of occasions. Police said Mellerson lured the men into committing sexual acts with him by using his position as jail chaplain.
Local residents said they were shocked at the charges against Mellerson, who worked as a pastor in their community.
"How long was this going on? How nobody noticed? How did he get to do this and nobody realized it was going on?" said Nikki Shaw, who was visiting a loved one in the Richmond jail.
The allegations stretched out across a number of months in the last yaer. Police said Matthew Mellerson had sexual contact with the prisoners in September, 2017, and again in November, with more allegations at the start of 2018.
This is not the first case of allegations against a pastor gaining nationwide interest. Last year, a Colorado pastor was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl, who became pregnant. The pastor, Romello Leach, was arrested after police received a tip that a teenage girl was impregnated by an adult man.
As The Denver Channel reported, the girl admitted to police that she and the pastor had sex two times, including once inside the man's car and another time in his home.
Police then set up a sting where the pastor's ex-wife called Leach, getting him to admit to molesting her on at least four occasions and saying it was the "worst mistake" of his life. He also admitted to being the father of the girl's baby, police claimed. He was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting the girl. As KRDO reported, Leach pleaded guilty to the charges this week and faces up to 10 years in prison and life on the sex offender intensive supervised probation at his sentencing later this year.
Police said they were also investigating to see if there were other victims of the Colorado pastor.Matthew Mellerson is due in court next month to answer charges that he used his position in the jail to have sex with inmates.