Former pastor arrested

Published 10:24 pm Wednesday, September 5, 2018

A former pastor was arrested Monday on three counts of sex crimes following a police investigation.

Sean Edward Gaines, 43, of Hampton, was arrested following indictment on two charges of indecent liberties with child by custodian and one count of carnal knowledge of a child 13 to 15 years old, according to a city press release.

The charges are related to alleged incidents involving a teen female, known to Gaines, that occurred in Suffolk in February, the press release states.

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The News-Herald reported on Aug. 26 that Gaines had been indicted.


Gaines, the former pastor of The Empowerment Temple, told the News-Herald by phone last month that he left the church in early August due to similar charges in Hampton. He said he did not do what he’s accused of.

“I’m refuting all the charges,” he said. “I’m stating my innocence.”

According to a search warrant filed in Suffolk Circuit Court earlier this year, a 14-year-old girl reported she had been sending photos to Gaines via Facebook messenger. She said Gaines had asked her to send the photographs and to “send them to his Facebook account.”

She sent photos of her private parts as well as one of herself in her bra and underwear, the search warrant states. It happened between May 2017 and February 2018, the warrant says.

The girl consented for police to search her phone but said she had deleted the photos at Gaines’ request.

According to the indictments, the charges relate to incidents in which Gaines allegedly touched a juvenile victim’s breast and genitals and had sexual intercourse with her.

The investigation is ongoing, and additional charges may be forthcoming, according to the city press release. He is being held at Western Tidewater Regional Jail, and a bond hearing is set for Thursday morning.