A pastor in Texas is behind bars this week after police say he sexually assaulted a teenage girl for years beginning when she was 16. Aaron Duane Shipman, 44, was taken into custody on Thursday and charged with one count of second-degree felony sexual assault, Wichita Falls NBC affiliate KFDX-TV reported.
According to the report, a young woman on Jan. 17 filed a report with the Odessa Police Department claiming that Shipman had sexually assaulted her multiple times over the last two years. The woman, who is currently 18 years old, reportedly told investigators that Shipman had sexually assaulted her on at least three occasions that included sexual intercourse. The victim said the most recent instance of sexual abuse had taken place just one day prior, on Jan. 16, a police probable cause affidavit reportedly said. Per the affidavit, the victim told police that all of her sexual interactions with Shipman were against her will.
A medic looked at the victim and administered a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) exam which reportedly showed signs of sexual trauma, The Odessa American reported.
Prior to his arrest, Shipman was reportedly the lead pastor at Bible Baptist Church in Odessa. Per its website, the church is an independent Baptist Church that is “committed to challenging every born again believer to follow after Jesus Christ” and believes the King James Version of the Bible “is the preserved word of God in the English language.” The website still listed Aaron Shipman as the church’s pastor as of Saturday afternoon.
However, Church officials subsequently fired Shipman from his position, per a statement.
“As a ministry, we are deeply saddened and hurt to hear of the allegations brought against Aaron Shipman,” the church said in a statement to Odessa NBC affiliate KWES. “Due to the nature of the allegations, we have terminated the position of Mr. Shipman at Bible Baptist Church effective immediately.”
Following the victim’s SANE exam, Odessa police took Shipman into custody and booked him in the Ector County Detention Center on a $60,000 surety bond, online jail records show. He was reportedly released on bond, per a report from Midland ABC affiliate KMID.
In addition to losing his position in the church, Shipman has also been prohibited from stepping foot on church property as the investigation into his conduct unfolds.
“He is banned indefinitely from the property and campuses of our church,” church officials said. “We are, and will continue to be in full cooperation with the authorities and any state officials. We are asking our staff and members not to discuss this matter further while it is pending before the courts.”
The Bible Baptist Church did not immediately respond to a message from Law&Crime seeking additional information on the allegations against Shipman.
[image via Odessa Police Department]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]wandcrime.com