An Oklahoma pastor listed as the owner of a child care and learning center has been arrested a second time in relation to allegations that he raped and impregnated a 15-year-old female relative. The alleged sexual assaults occurred numerous times over the last year, including at the pastor’s church, home, in a park, and a hotel, according to a police report.
Gregory Ivan Hawkins, 54, is the pastor of Zion Plaza Church in Tulsa, Okla., and has found himself behind bars again after posting a $50,000 bond in June when the allegations were initially made. Hawkins was reportedly re-arrested last week on charges of four counts of lewd molestation and two counts of rape. His bond has been set at $250,000.
The teen, who was 14 when the abuse started, informed police that Hawkins allegedly began molesting her in April 2012 with the latest time of contact being in January 2013. Investigators have said that the young girl provided recorded phone calls, in which Hawkins admits to having sexual intercourse with the girl because he thought she was “very sexy, attractive and beautiful,” and apologizes several times. There were reportedly also text message exchanges between Hawkins and the girl that support her claim.
The teen, who told investigators she had been living with Hawkins when the alleged abuse began, is six months pregnant. It was not immediately known why the teen had been living with Hawkins. Her mother reportedly filed a protective order against the pastor in February, which requires him to refrain from coming within 300 yards of the teen.
The minister’s church has been referred to in several news reports as Zion Plaza Church, Zion Fellowship Living Waters Church and Zion Plaza Ministries. Hawkins took over the north Tulsa ministry 10 years ago after the fatal shooting of his brother, Neaco Padillow. Hawkins has also become the owner of the Zion Child Care & Learning Center, which reportedly has been cited for several violations. Upon Hawkins’ arrest, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services issued a notice restricting him from the child care facility.
One of Hawkins’ neighbors, who refused to be identified, said she was concerned about everyone involved in the case and would be praying for the pastor.
“I’m concerned about the children, the wife. I’m also concerned about him. I’m going to be praying for all of them. I’m concerned about the alleged victim as well,” said the woman who spoke while shielding her face.
Bobby Cozart, who said he was a former member of Zion Plaza Church, told Tulsa ABC affiliate KTLU-TV that Hawkins was “a sick individual and needs to be shut down.”
Sgt. Mark Mears informed KOTV news station that with cases involving sexual assault, it is quite common for the victim to know the abuser. He suggested, however, that this particular case, involving a church leader, is not typical.
“Whenever any of these stories come up, people think you can’t trust the church or the day care or youth leaders, but most of the people in those professions, overall, are there for the right reasons,” said Sgt. Mears. “But, people who want to have access to kids will put themselves in those places, so keep your eyes open but, don’t pre-judge.
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