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January 12, 2016

Chesco church: We're 'devastated' by rape accusations against former pastor

Police: Victim says man impregnated her

Rape Pastor
Jacob “Jake” Malone. West Whiteland Township Police Department/Facebook

Jacob “Jake” Malone.

Police in Chester County say a pastor raped and impregnated a teenage girl, an accusation that has left the community at his former church "devastated."

According to authorities, Jacob "Jake" Malone, 33, sexually assaulted the victim while she lived at his home in Exton.

Police had previously believed that Malone was eluding arrest and possibly left the country. But an attorney claiming to represent Malone, a resident of the 300 block of South Whitford Road in Exton, called detectives Tuesday saying his client was out of the country but was flying back in the wake of the allegations, authorities said.

Police are working with the attorney to determine where and when Malone will be returning, authorities added. 

Malone reportedly met the victim when she was 12 while pastoring at a church she attended in Mesa, Arizona. In 2014, he reached out to the then-17-year-old girl and invited her to stay with him and his family at his new home in Minnesota, allegedly trying to have inappropriate contact with her.

Police say Malone moved to Chester County in July 2014 and again invited the victim to stay with him, registering her at a local high school.

The alleged abuse began in the fall of that year, as the girl told police he began sexually assaulting her while she lived at his residence on the unit block of Atherton Drive in Exton. 

When she turned 18, she told police he allegedly served her alcohol on several occasions, and on one occasion, she became "highly intoxicated" and was molested by Malone. 

During the alleged abuse, the victim told police she was attending the church, Calvary Fellowship in Downingtown, where he was pastoring

Malone became employed at the church in August 2014, according to Bill Bateman, one of the church's pastors.

Bateman said Malone tendered his resignation in November 2015 when he was confronted by the church's elders, and that the Calvary Fellowship staff immediately began cooperating with authorities when the allegations surfaced. 

Malone did not admit guilt when confronted, Bateman says, but did say he told them of a situation involving a young girl living with him that was expecting a child. Police say the victim told them Malone impregnated her just after she turned 18.

"As a church, we're devastated because of the innocent people that were hurt," Bateman said.

He stressed that the church's staff members are carefully vetted, and when Malone was revetted in September after state guidelines changed, nothing came up on his record. 

Authorities praised the church for their cooperation, saying that staff came to them as soon as they found out about the situation and have offered counseling for the victim.

"We are all sinners. We hurt for the young lady, we hurt for Jake and his family, we hurt for the church body that placed trust in the church leadership," Bateman said, adding that he hopes the community's trust in the church continues.