LAWTON Okla_ A Lawton minister is being accused of doing the unthinkable: sexually abusing children. To make matters worse, he's accused of doing it in the house of God.
Police arrested 28-year-old Bobby Burrell Monday morning. He ministered at One More Soul Outreach Ministries. Police started investigating him last October when a worker at Lawton group home Sequoyah House called them, saying Burrell had exposed himself and performed lewd acts in front of several juveniles who were staying there. The worker said Burrell didn't do it at the group home, but at the church.
It's been a long and tough road for investigators. Several juveniles were questioned over the past several months, and in that time, the Lawton Sequoyah House has since closed operation in light of the allegations. Court Documents said Burrell went to the home and was allowed to take the boys to his church. Sometimes he would take them to places to eat or to his private home, which was never authorized. The home's staff is facing charges, because investigators say they knew several of their rules were being broken but did nothing to stop it.
His name is still on the sign outside of his church. It's plastered along side the church's van. Under his name on his facebook page in parentheses reads "Pastor Bobby Burrell".
He's now charged with child sexual abuse.
"I've seen doctors, lawyers, case workers, law enforcement, and teachers. I've seen people from all professions that turned out to be predators," LPD Captain Craig Akard said.
Police say Burrell would frequent the juvenile group home. He would take teens out to eat or to his church where he would put them to work.
"He was taking these kids to places where they aren't supposed to go at times when they are not supposed to go," Akard said. "So, the kids start trusting him even more, thinking he's doing stuff that he's not supposed to be doing. So, it's okay. It's a rapport."
At some point, things took a less innocent turn. Several of the teens came forward and said Burrell was exposing himself to them and asking them to watch pornographic videos with him while in church.
"He took advantage of their trust," Akard said.
Akard said that's something common with sexual predators: preying on the weak. In this particular case, no one did anything to stop it, including the group home's employees.
"Protecting those kids is their job," Akard said. "That's what they are supposed to do. When the state of Oklahoma comes in and takes those kids out of that family, it's the state of Oklahoma's responsibility to put them someplace where they are safe. That's what DHS did. They did everything they were supposed to do."