Minister Seduced Girls with Promise that Sex Would 'Heal' STDs and Early Pregnancy

S.C. pastor accused of abusing girls during 'private prayer' sessions.

Usually the Church is against all forms of sex before marriage, but not this South Carolina minister, who is accused of seducing young girls during private "prayer sessions." In fact, this holy authority even claimed that sex with him would prevent STDs and early pregnancy—a bit of a change from the church's usual doctrine of "abstinence only."

According to the Associated Press, “58-year-old Larry Durant had been arrested and charged with two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor. He also faces four counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct.”

Court documents say Durant coerced at least three female church members, as young as 11, into sexual intercourse by luring them into “private prayer” sessions. Durant told his targets the sex would heal them from “liking females, contracting sexual diseases or becoming pregnant early." One 18-year-old survivor says she attended a “private prayer” session at Durant’s home, where she was told to keep it secret and “to not go against God’s will.”

"The manner in which he lured them in, we feel that at some level there's a strong potential that there may be other victims. We're talking about a span of, right now, over two year," Sumter Police Chief Alvin Holston told WLTX. "It appeared that he may have had a routine on gaining the trust and the private company of some of the juveniles."

Durant is also involved in another case, in which he allegedly forged the signature of a tenant he was trying to evict, also the grandmother of one of the sexual assault victims. The grandmother says she never thought twice about Durant’s “prayer sessions.” 

"We thought he was really talking to the children, but find out that wasn't the case," she said. "All I want is justice done, that's all. Justice done.”

Steven Hsieh is an editorial assistant at AlterNet and writer based in Brooklyn. Follow him on Twitter @stevenjhsieh.

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