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Former Decatur church pastor charged with grooming teen girl for sex, police say

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DECATUR — The former pastor of a Decatur church grabbed his phone and tried to wipe it of evidence he had been sending sexual messages and images to a 15-year-old girl when he realized the police were knocking on his door, a sworn affidavit said.

“Prior to answering the door, (Joseph M. Krol) is seen grabbing his cell phone and manipulating the buttons while standing in the kitchen area,” said Sgt. Roger Pope with the Macon County Sheriff’s Office.

“Deputies immediately located his phone, but (he) had factory reset the phone in an attempt to wipe all of the data.”

Joseph M. Krol


But the affidavit said it was already too late for the 36-year-old, who now pastors a church in Rochester, and was arrested Friday morning at an address in Dawson.

Pope said the family of the girl, who lives in Oreana, had previously turned over her phone to deputies. Evidence on the phone showed Krol had played sexually suggestive games with her and wanted nude photos.

“(She) allowed me to take over her Snapchat account and act as her while conversing with Krol,” said Pope in the affidavit. “During our conversations, Krol requested photos of (the girl) in her underwear. Unsolicited, he sent her Snapchat a video (showing the outline of his genitalia). He also asked her sexually explicit questions about ... her fantasies to include her interest in older men.”

Pope said Krol tried to be careful and, believing he was speaking to the girl, would ask her to pan the room with her phone camera so that he could be sure no one else was present. He would then send her sexually explicit content.

Krol was booked on a preliminary charge of grooming, which is the offense of attempting to seduce, solicit, lure or entice a child to commit a sex act.

A check of Macon County Jail records Monday showed the pastor remained in custody with bail set at $75,000, meaning he must post a bond of $7,500 to be freed.

All preliminary charges are subject to review by the state attorney’s office.

Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid


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