Parents Trap Pastor After Alleged Attempt to Run Off With Their Daughter

A pastor in Oklahoma has been arrested for allegedly asking a 13-year-old girl to run away with him, after her parents tricked him into meeting at their house.

Manuel Moran-Izaquirre, 53, a pastor in Oklahoma City, is alleged to have initially contacted the 13-year-old girl through text messages, pretending to be looking for her father, according to court documents obtained by local ABC affiliate KATU 2.

The pastor allegedly would not tell the girl how he had obtained her number and then called her on June 10, telling her that he would buy her anything that she wanted.

The 13-year-old told investigators that during the same phone call, Moran-Izaquirre asked her to run away with him when her parents were not at home.

According to the court documents, the child told her mother about the phone call—who then recorded conversations with the pastor while pretending to be her daughter.

KATU 2 reported that Moran-Izaquirre turned up at the family's home on June 11, not knowing that the girl's parents were waiting for him.

The pastor pulled the child into his car and is alleged to have kissed the back of her hand and grabbed her neck while attempting to kiss her, despite the girl telling him that she did not want to.

Her father then left the house and intervened. Moran-Izaquirre later told investigators that he had contacted and met with the girl to "give her counsel."

He was later charged with one count of lewd acts and one count of solicitation of sexual conduct and communication with a minor by use of technology.

In 2015, Moran-Izaquirre pleaded guilty to a charge of outraging public decency, in a case understood to involve a child under 16.

Abuse cases involving members of the clergy have made headlines around the world in recent years.

In 2019, an Associated Press investigation found that there were close to 1,700 Catholic priests and other clergy members who had been "credibly accused of child sexual abuse" living in the U.S. with little or no oversight from the authorities. Some of the accused worked jobs involving children, according to the AP, with one a middle school math teacher.

A study published in 2018 examined 326 cases of alleged child sexual abuse related to Protestant Christian congregations in the U.S. between 1982 and 2014. Almost 99 percent of the offenders were male, with their ages ranging from 18 to 88. Incidents reportedly occurred at the offenders' home, the victims' home, at the church and at church-sponsored activities.

Newsweek has contacted the Oklahoma City police department for comment on Moran-Izaquirre.

Pastor tried to run away with girl
Stock image of a clergyman. A pastor in Oklahoma has been accused of asking a 13-year-old girl to run away with him. sakepaint/iStock / Getty Images Plus