SHARPSVILLE, Pa. (WKBN) – A pastor in Sharpsville committed a crime long ago. Because of it, his church has been expelled from a prestigious national organization.
The church is West Side Baptist, which was “disfellowshipped” last week by the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Baptist and Protestant denomination in the United States.
The church is located on East Main Street in Sharpsville. It was expelled or disfellowshipped because of its pastor David Pearson.
In 1993, Pearson was convicted of the aggravated sexual assault of a child in Denton County, Texas, near Dallas.
Records from Denton County list Pearson’s address as Minneola, Florida, near Orlando. His picture appears on the Florida Sexual Offenders and Predators website. It was taken in 2000. The site lists Pearson’s address as Sharpsville. He’s now 68, which means he committed the crime when he was 40.
As to why West Side Baptist was expelled, a statement from the Southern Baptist Convention reads in part:
“The church knowingly employs as a pastor, a registered sex offender, and therefore does not act in a manner that is consistent with the Convention’s beliefs regarding sexual abuse.”Southern Baptist Convention
WKBN 27 First News tried to contact Pearson and was referred to the church’s website where it states:
“Over 29 years ago, Pastor David lived as a great sinner and rebel. Today, Pastor David has gone from disgrace to amazing grace and now has served the Lord Jesus Christ at West Side for 18 years. Sinners welcome at WSBC: The church of grace and forgiveness!”
The statement from West Side Baptist also claimed that “Pastor David Pearson has fully complied with all the laws of Pennsylvania and is not required to register as a sex offender.”
A spokesman for the Pennsylvania State Police couldn’t speak to Pearson’s case specifically but says that’s possible because the laws were changed in 2012 to allow offenders to be removed from the list after a certain amount of time.
Sharpsville Police Chief Chris Hosa says he was made aware of the situation surrounding David Pearson a couple of years ago but says his department has never had “an active investigation of wrongdoing with either (Pastor Pearson) or the church.”