East Austin church pastor charged with sexual abuse of a child

The pastor at Austin's First Baptist Church is being charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child, according to the Round Rock Police Department.

68-year-old Henry L. McGee, court papers allege, had been sexually assaulting a young girl since June 2014. She was 13 at the time, and a member of his church.

According to parishioners, McGee had been the pastor there for 17 years.

Police say the allegations surfaced during a church group meeting. According to court papers, the victim's friends asked her about the nature of her relationship with McGee. She responded that the two had been having a "sexual relationship" for more than a year.

The girl's parents were notified. They reported it to the Austin Police Department. Austin police turned the investigation over to Round Rock police as the latest incident is believed to have happened there.

The affidavit states that during APD’s initial investigation officers were told by the victim that the last sexual intercourse she had with the defendant was on October 9th in a hotel in Round Rock.

Police say McGee sexually abused the girl more than 15 times. It's alleged to have also happened at the church on Heflin Lane.

The parking lot at the First Baptist Church was empty on Tuesday. It's doors locked. A plaque outside lists it as the oldest African-American church in Austin. Henry McGee's name has been marked out on the sign in front.

Parishioners who did not want to be identified tell FOX 7 that McGee was a larger than life figure. They also say for decades the church has wrapped its arms around its youth and that's why this alleged heinous crime is even more disturbing.

"The saying it takes a village to raise a child," says one woman who grew up in the church. She adds, "I believe that with this incident happening when the village is messed up you don't know who is around your children. That's what kind of mood is going on right now."

The woman says she is no longer a member there but lives in the tight knit community.

"Sometimes I think young girls go out and they seek it from older men and they are looking for daddy," she says. She believes that may have been the case with McGee and his victim. "You have to have the support you have to love yourself."

She says sadly though, "I'm not shocked that it happened. I believe based on how he was towards the members, just towards the members what comes around goes around. You are hiding something. So while you're picking on somebody else, something is going on with you, and this something has come out now."

McGee was booked into the Williamson County jail on Monday. According to jail records he posted his $80,000 bond and was released.

Round Rock police say more charges could be filed and they say they "have reason to believe there may be other victims."

Police are asking anyone with information to contact the Round Rock Police Department at 512-218-5500.

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