May 17, 11:39 PM EDT


Baptist Pastor arrested in sex sting resigned

PLANO, Texas (AP) -- A minister arrested in an Internet sex sting has resigned his position at a Dallas-area megachurch, its pastor said Saturday.

The Rev. Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, said during services Saturday that the church accepted Rev. Joe Barron's resignation, effective immediately.

Barron was charged Friday with online solicitation of a minor. Undercover officers posing as a 13-year-old girl communicated with the 52-year-old minister for about two weeks. The online conversations were sexual in nature, police said.

On May 6, Barron suggested meeting the girl in person. He drove nearly 200 miles on Thursday to meet her in Bryan, where he was arrested. Police said they found a web-cam and condoms in the minister's car.

Barron was released from the Brazos County Jail on Friday night on $7,000 bail. Police were unsure if he had an attorney.

Graham said it was a heartbreaking week in which "you need to know that we are appalled and we are disgraced by this terrible action, an unacceptable action, by a minister on our staff."


The pastor said he was eager to move on.

"We want to put this in the rearview mirror," Graham said. "We will handle anything we need to handle in terms of our responsibilities and obligations, and any ongoing investigation.

Prestonwood Baptist Church is one of the largest churches in the country with 26,000 members and 40 ministers.