Beach Hazards and Air Quality alerts in effect for Thursday

Kalamazoo church staff member on leave amid rape investigation

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — A staff member at a Kalamazoo church is on leave after a mother accused the person of raping her child.

In a Facebook video, Stones Church Pastor Joel Brooks said a girl told her mother she was raped on Thursday. The mother reported the incident to the church Friday and the employee was placed on leave that day, he said.

“We immediately called the staff member in and -- we called our lawyer first. We called the stuff member in and we immediately suspended him, right on the spot,” Brooks said in the video. “Two of our pastors walked him out to his car. And we let him know until further investigation, until we have more light on this, he was not to come to either one of our campuses.”

Kalamazoo police said they are investigating the allegation but couldn’t provide further details.

In that video, Brooks also said the family of the child agreed it would be best if they didn’t attend services in the meantime, but they showed up and “caused a disturbance” during Sunday’s service.

Pastor Brooks released the following statement to FOX 17, which is also stated in the video:

"There has been a serious accusation made against a member of our staff. This situation is being investigated by the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety. We will fully cooperate with this investigation and communicate the findings and subsequent actions in an open and transparent way, within the boundaries that are legally allowed. To ensure the safety and peace of mind of members, those involved will not have presence at either campus until the investigation comes to some definite conclusions."

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