A Benton Harbor, Michigan pastor will not be going to jail after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a child in 2020 and an adult victim in 2018, according to court documents.
Pastor Leroy Lane Jr, the former pastor of Straight Gate Pentecostal Church, was charged with criminal sexual conduct second-degree, criminal sexual conduct third degree and criminal sexual conduct fourth-degree.
According to court documents, in September 2021, a 13-year-old girl told police that her pastor touched her inappropriately. According to the victim, she went to Pastor Lane’s home to help him prepare for a Super Bowl Party. While there, the young girl said Pastor Lane was in the basement when he asked her to join him and sit with him.
The girl told police that she sat on the arm of the chair, but that wasn’t good enough for Pastor Lane. Lane wanted the 13-year-old to sit on his lap, so he grabbed her and put her on his lap, according to court documents. The victim said Pastor Lane began touching her thigh and rubbing her inner thigh.
The victim told investigators that she was scared and yelled for her sister to come to the basement. The victim told investigators that she had a skirt on when Pastor Lane inappropriately touched her. Earlier that day, the girl told investigators that Pastor Lane touched her buttocks with his hand as she stood near a food table.
During the 13-year-old investigation, police learned that there was another victim of Pastor Lane, but she was an adult who alleged that Pastor Lane sexually assaulted her.
In 2017, the adult victim said she returned to Benton Harbor, and Pastor Lane helped her get into an apartment by providing her the security deposit and money for other needs. The woman told investigators that Pastor Lane wanted a key to the apartment since he helped her get it. In 2018, the woman recalled a time to investigators when she was sleeping on the couch, and Pastor Lane entered her apartment with his key unannounced.
The woman told police that Pastor Lane started small talk, began kissing her, and then inappropriately touched her, according to court documents. Investigators said the woman told them that after the kissing, Pastor Lane had intercourse sex with the woman. According to the woman, Pastor Lane told her he had been waiting for years to have sex with her, but he “didn’t want to do it like this.”
Another time the adult victim recounted to investigators was when she was asleep in bed, and Pastor Lane entered her apartment again unannounced and went into her bedroom. Court documents said when the woman asked Pastor Lane why he was in her apartment, he said, “I just wanted to come over and tuck you in for the night.” The woman told investigators that she told Pastor Lane to leave, but instead, he unzipped his pants and had intercourse sex with her.
The woman told investigators that she could not stop Pastor Lane and was scared because she thought something might happen to her because he always carried a handgun, which she said he had during both sexual assaults.
During the time, police spoke with Pastor Lane, who denied the assaults, saying that he and the adult victim had a consensual affair.
This past Monday, June 12, Pastor Lane accepted a plea deal of five years of probation. He must register as a sex offender for 15 years, stay off social media, stay away from children, and serve 960 hours of community service, but he will not spend a single day in jail for what he did to these women.
Rumor in Benton Harbor is that these two victims are not the only victims of Pastor Lane and that he has been allegedly sexually abusing minors for years.
Pastor Lane is no longer the pastor of Straight Gate Pentecostal Church. He is now the pastor of Rhema Word Ministries in Benton Harbor.
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