UNION CITY, TN (KFVS) - Shocking news for members of an Obion County Tennessee Church. Tuesday they learned their pastor sits behind bars, accused of Internet crimes involving a teenager.
Police say Pastor Grady Evans thought he was trying to talk to a 14 year old girl in a chat room, but authorities say that girl turned out to be an undercover officer working with authorities in Fairfax, Virginia.
TBI investigators tell me they believe he was doing it from inside his church.
"I thought he was a very nice man," said Richard Ams. "I'm still wanting to give him the benefit of the doubt until all the facts are out there."
Union City neighbors say they were stunned to hear the news. The First Church of God pastor was arrested for what authorities call 'inappropriate online activities and behaviors.'
Police tell Heartland News they believe the crimes were committed from the church. Authorities later seized several computers here.
"I hate to see anybody go through this," said another neighbor who did not want to give her name. "This is really hard on the members. They thought they finally found the right pastor."
Heartland News went to the church to find out what's next for the congregation. No one showed up all day and church members say they've been advised not to comment.
We are told they don't know what's next for services, but for now you still hear the voice of Evans on the answering machine when you call the office.
At Evans' home, friends tell us his wife didn't want to go on camera. However friends say they are trying to be there for Evans' wife and children at this difficult time. Friends tell us the family never saw it coming.
Meanwhile people in Union City say they are disappointed someone they look to as a light for God would set a poor example instead.
"I hope everybody here prays for his family because they are going to need it," said Ams.
Evans moved to the area and became pastor in October. Authorities say Evans' alleged inappropriate activity online took place just last month.