Despite allegations of sexual harassment against a church member that surfaced almost five years after he was named the 15th pastor of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Illinois, Pastor Antwon M. Funches Sr. remains in the pulpit.
Just three days after his arrest on July 8 for allegedly sexually violating a parishioner, Funches was seen preaching on July 11 through a taped sermon uploaded on the St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church Facebook page, the Christian Post reported.
Funches was released on $750 bail on July 9. A spokesman said that the arrest and accusations against Funches were the responsibility of local authorities. A number of phone calls to Funches' church and residence were reported to have gone unanswered on Monday.
According to WREX, a Freeport Police report indicates that the pastor allegedly "sexually violated" a church member of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church on June 18.
The unnamed victim claims that Funches "sexually violated" them while visiting their house to repair a refrigerator. Funches was later arrested and charged with "battery." In addition, the alleged victim acquired a restraining order against him.
"He was my pastor that I trusted dearly," the victim stated in the order. "I didn't deserve to be violated."
The injunction ordered Funches to stop communicating with the victim's family and "to stop spreading rumors in the church."
According to The Roys Report, the pastor in question previously pled guilty to drug trafficking.
He was a Cook County (Illinois) deputy sheriff from 2002 to January 2009, according to his LinkedIn page. Documents from the Northern District of Illinois state that Funches was one of 15 Chicago-area cops arrested in December 2008.
According to the FBI, Funches and others were on the lookout for narcotics deals. He confessed to conspiring to undertake big heroin and cocaine deals and to provide drug deal protection.
He also served on the Freeport School District #145 board of education. Due to his criminal record, Funches resigned after just eight months. Felons cannot serve on a school board in Illinois, The Roys Report noted.
His church bio
Rev. Funches was appointed as Pastor of the St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Freeport, Illinois, on August 20, 2016, a position he has held since. Funches is a father of five children and a grandfather of three.
He reportedly used to be a board member of the FSD 145 School District and now serves as "Vice President of the Freeport Fellowship and Ministers' Alliance, a board member of Amity Daycare & Learning Center, and Community Liaison to the City Manager of Freeport."
However, when The Christian Post contacted the office of Freeport City Manager Randy Bukas, a representative said that the office was not associated with the pastor.
When asked whether Funches remained on the board of directors, a spokesperson at Amity Daycare & Learning Center responded to CP, "we have no comment at this time."
Freeports' spokesman added that the arrest and accusations against Funches were the responsibility of local authorities.
"That is not our issue. It's a police issue," the spokesman told CP.