Owen Robertson, former minister of education at Easley First Baptist Church, was arrested Dec. 15 after investigators found pornographic images of children on his computer.
Robertson, 53, was charged with nine counts of third-degree exploitation of a child. He served for “a number of years” with the church until March of this year, said Milton Ponder, chairman of deacons.
Easley police chief Tim Tollison said the images were on a church computer and on Robertson’s personal computer, according to a story published Dec. 20 at WYFF4.com.
Arrest warrants signed Dec. 14 indicate the images were first discovered on or about Feb. 10. Ponder said church officials immediately reported the images.
He also stressed that “there’s no information whatsoever that these charges involve any allegation of physical harm to any of our members.”
“From what I understand from talking to [law enforcement], this had to do with materials accessed by computer, [through] the internet,” he said.
“We feel like our church is safe, our members are safe,” he said.
“But the congregation is distressed,” he added. “At the same time, we are very concerned about Mr. Robertson’s family. He has a wonderful wife and a wonderful son who are very active in our church. We know they are undergoing a very painful situation.
“Our church is praying for their well-being. We’re praying that God will protect and strengthen them in the days and weeks ahead. We want to embrace them. We’re trying to prayerfully address this situation in a way we feel our Lord would want us to.”
Ponder said the church is “not expressing any opinion about guilt or innocence.”
The WYFF report said the case will be prosecuted by the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office.