Police: Pastor exchanged community service for 'intimate hugs' - FOX 13 News

Police: Pastor exchanged community service for 'intimate hugs'

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Bishop Charles Leigh calls himself a man of God, heading up the Apostolic Catholic Church on North Nebraska,  but now some others are saying there's a much different side of him.

"He's very touchy," said Christina Sweet-Fields.

Sweet-Fields calls herself a former prostitute.  She said after being arrested, she went to his church for her community service hours.  She claims she did hers, but heard rumors that others found shortcuts.

"I have heard from a couple girls that he does exchange for favors," she said.  "It was kind of strange doing my hours he was looking down my shirt."

Tampa police arrested Leigh on Wednesday, charging him with 6 counts of Falsifying Official Documents.  The investigation started back in June after a tip that he was giving credit for hours in exchange for sexual gratification.

Police say twice, including Wednesday, an undercover officer met with him, acting as a defendant.  In total, police said he gave her 50 community service hours for what police are calling 7 "intimate hugs."

"Today's hugs were extremely groping she pushed him off of her, and he grabbed her, he pulled her, she had to shove him off. He said, ‘gropey aren't I?'" said Tampa Police Corporal Felicia Pecora.

When asked, Leigh denied any wrongdoing.

"I did nothing wrong.  I feel like it's a political issue," he said while being led to a police car.

Police are continuing their investigation; other charges are possible.  Next door to Leigh's church sits the Wisdom Outreach Ministry.  The pastor there never knew Leigh to be anything but a devout follower of God. 

"When I heard these allegations, it shocked me because he didn't seem to be that kind of person," said Pastor L.B. Jones.

Leigh has been arrested before, back in the mid-1970s for armed robbery and sexual battery.  Those charges were later dropped.

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