Members of the Bellview Baptist Church in Westlake are searching for answers this morning after the pastor the church was arrested yesterday. Investigators in Calcasieu Parish say, John Michael Ward, the pastor of the church, was taken into custody yesterday and allegedly confirmed an inappropriate relationship with an 11-year-old child.

The charges against Ward include 10 counts of first-degree rape, 40 counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile, and two counts of pornography involving a juvenile. According to reports Ward had been misusing the young girl for the past two years.

Ward is in custody in the Calcasieu Parish Jail and Judge Sharon Wilson has set his bond at $640,000.  Ward was arrested after investigators acted on a tip obtained from the Department of Child & Family Services’ tip line. Those who offer tips on that line can remain anonymous. If you suspect abuse or neglect of a child Call 1-855-4LA-KIDS that's (1-855-452-5437) toll-free, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.


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