“It hurts all religious communities”; GR pastor charged after trying to meet child for sex

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A pastor at a Grand Rapids church was arrested for attempting to arrange a meeting with a child for sexual activity.

David Diehl, courtesy image.

David Diehl, courtesy image.

Police took David Diehl of Kentwood into custody after serving a warrant at his home Tuesday. He's currently in jail for possession of child sexually abusive material and using a computer to commit a crime.

He was a pastor at Church On Fire, whose congregation meets every Sunday at 10 AM at the Mill Creek Center on Anne Street. Detective Sgt. Chris Prevette with Michigan State Police’s Computer Crimes Unit said they are in contact with the church, and the church is aware of Diehl’s alleged crimes.

The investigation began November 21st when an undercover chat took place between their detectives and Diehl.

“During that discussion there was talk of activity, and arrangements were discussed on making the meet take place, and prior to that meet actually taking place we intervened and made contact with that search warrant,” said Sgt. Prevette.

Church On Fire issued this statement to FOX 17:

"Please be in prayer during this time of crisis in our church. We are fully cooperating with the investigation and have no further comment at this time."

FOX 17 uncovered one of Diehl’s most recent teachings at the church on October 10th. He was recorded on video preaching about discipline churchgoers need to follow God.

“Let’s be honest: we don’t want to develop the disciplines it takes in our lives. Why? Because we want what we want,” Diehl said back in October.

Diehl’s neighbor, Diane Cunningham, said police  knocked on her door by accident during the investigation. Cunningham said she saw Diehl come and go most days, but didn’t know he was a pastor.  Cunningham herself also happens to work for a church, saying she’s been a pastoral minister for several Catholic churches over the past 40 years.

“I have seen it, and I have reported it, and I have been appalled by it, and worked with many priests who have done it, so it’s very, very sad,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham said it’s a problem that has turned people away from the church in all different religions, and no matter how many times it happens, it’s just as devastating every time.

“It’s very sad,” Cunningham said.

According to the website, the church will still have their regular gathering on Sunday at 10 am.

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