The lead pastor of a Mesquite church is facing charges for not reporting an allegation of child sex assault against his assistant youth pastor.
Police said Robert Arnold Ross, the lead pastor of the Open Door Baptist Church, learned Feb. 1 assistant youth pastor Steven Winn was sexually assaulting a child at the church and failed to immediately report it to law enforcement.
Ross faces one count of persons required to report; time to report, a class A misdemeanor.
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Until February, Steven Aaron Winn, 33, of Crandall, and his father, Larry Allen Winn, 65, of Dallas, were both employed at the Open Door Baptist Church in Mesquite. The elder Winn was the business director while his son served as an assistant youth pastor.
Both men, police said in March, now face charges of sexual assault of a child for different relationships the men had with teenage girls at the church.
On Feb. 18., Mesquite police said the received a report of a possible ongoing sexual relationship between an adult man and a teenage girl. Police said the investigation revealed that Steven Winn, over the course of about 14 months, had a relationship with a teenage girl who attended the church's Christian school.
Steven Winn was arrested Feb. 22 and charged in Dallas County with three counts of sexual assault of a child and ordered held on bond of $75,000. On Feb. 26 he was charged with three additional counts of sexual assault of a child, this time in Kaufman County, and held on $300,000 bond. As of April 3, Steven Winn remains held in the Dallas County Jail on a total bond of $375,000.
Until he was terminated Feb. 20, Steven Winn also worked as a construction inspector in the Public Works Department for the city of Mesquite. He had been employed by the city for 14 years prior to being fired.
On Feb. 27, Mesquite police learned of another possible inappropriate relationship between an adult man and a teenage girl -- only this time it involved Winn's father, Larry.
Police interviewed the victim, now 19, who told them when she was 16 and a member of the church when she was assaulted. Police said Larry Winn was arrested and charged in Dallas County with one count of sexual assault of a child; he was later released after posting $25,000 bond.
Mesquite police confirmed to NBC 5 in March that the victims in the case are different teenage girls.
Police said due to Larry Winn’s level of access to children, investigators believe there may be additional victims. Investigators encourage anyone with information on criminal offenses involving Larry Winn to contact the Mesquite Police Department at 972-285-6336.
The investigation into both cases is ongoing.