Police arrest Texas pastor accused of sexually assaulting 16-year-old girl


(KGBT/SBG) - Police arrested a pastor Tuesday after a member of his McAllen church accused him of sexually assaulting a teenager for more than two years.

Elliot James Wickboldt of McAllen is accused of having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl from July 2015 to Oct. 12, 2017, according to a criminal complaint.

On multiple occasions, Wickboldt sexually assaulted Jane-- a pseudonym assigned to the teen in the criminal complaint--at an Edinburg home and at Awaken Church, according to the criminal complaint.

On Oct. 24 during an interview at the Children's Advocacy Center, Jane said "Wickboldt would tell her not to tell anyone or he would go to jail," according to the criminal complaint.

Awaken Church Lead Pastor Bentley Sargeant issued the following statement to CBS 4 News:

"Elliot Wickboldt was removed as pastor of Awaken Church due to a moral failure. He was not the pastor at the time of his arrest. Please direct additional questions regarding the alleged crime to the local authorities."

McAllen police met with an Awaken Church "overseer" on Monday, who said Wickboldt "had admitted to kissing, holding hands and touching Jane's privates and vice versa," according to the criminal complaint.

After obtaining several statements, police issued an arrest warrant for Wickboldt on Tuesday, according to the criminal complaint.

Wickboldt was charged with sexual assault, a second-degree felony; and indecency with a child with sexual contact, a third-degree felony.

A judge set bond at $100,000.

Wickboldt was released from the Hidalgo County jail on Wednesday and couldn't be reached for comment.