SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) -
At a recent church service at High Rock Community Church,
the senior pastor told church members that a staff member had been fired
for having sexual relationships with young girls.
Now that staff member, youth pastor Torrey Morgan
, is in jail on
charges of disseminating harmful material to a minor under 18 years of
age, (felony) disseminating harmful material to a minor under 16 years
of age, 2 counts of (felony) indecent liberties with a child, and
(felony) second degree sexual exploitation of a minor.
This investigation continues, with more charges possible, according to Sheriff Kevin Auten.
"Unfortunately, I have some sad news to share with you today," senior
pastor Ray Johnson told church members. "Many of you know Pastor
Torrey, the East Campus Pastor and former Student Pastor. He has
admitted to extensive sexual immorality. He managed to hide these
relationships from me and from the rest of staff."
"It is the primary responsibility of our leadership to look after the
well being of the people at High Rock Church. Therefore, as a result of
his confession, we have released Torrey from his position of pastor and
revoked his ordination. We are still trying to discover the full scope
of the circumstances, and there may be other actions placed against him.
We will keep you posted as things develop," Johnson added.
According to the sheriff, in June, the Rowan County Sheriff's Office
Criminal Investigation Division was alerted to possible inappropriate
behavior by a youth leader, at the High Rock Community Church, located
on Bringle Ferry Road, near Salisbury. The complaints were from female
teenage members of the church, and involved allegations of sexual
activity and advances, made by Morgan, 36, of Crawford Road, Salisbury.
Morgan was given a $50,000 secured bond and was placed in the Rowan
County Detention Center. Morgan made bond a short time later wand was
released from custody.
Anyone with information concerning this case is asked to contact 1st
Lt. Chad Moose, of the Rowan County Sheriff's Office Criminal
Investigation Division, at (704) 216-8687.
"High Rock is a family and when one family member hurts, we all hurt.
Please pray for Torrey, his family, and all who are involved during
this difficult time," Johnson told church members. "God has done
amazing things over the 9 years of High Rock's existence. We believe we
are on the cusp of seeing God do even greater things across all of our
campuses, especially with the launch of our newest campus in Myrtle
Beach just 68 days away.
"Wherever God is at work, you can be sure that the enemy is at work
as well. Satan has thrown everything at us, including the kitchen sink,
to stop this amazing work of God."
"I encourage you not to let Satan use the sins and mistakes of one
man to separate you from what God is doing in the hearts and lives of so
many others," Johnson said.
High Rock Community Church is a popular church with multiple
locations that began on Bringle Ferry Road in eastern Rowan County.
According to the church web site, there are now locations in Albemarle,
Harrisburg, Kannapolis, Mooresville, two in Salisbury, Wilkes County,
and a new location set to open in Myrtle Beach.
"Ultimately, we want to communicate a caring God to an ever-changing
culture and to be an optimistic, practical, grace-filled church that
honors the teaching of Jesus Christ," reads a statement on the church