A man who had served as a youth pastor in Metter, charged by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation with sexual exploitation of children, was jailed in mid-November but soon released on bond.
The GBI charged Steve Macallin Thomas, 22, of a Garfield address, Nov. 15 on two counts of sexual exploitation and two counts of sexual battery, and he turned himself in at the Candler County Jail that night, the GBI reported. The charges stemmed from a GBI investigation requested by the Candler County Sheriff’s Office, according to a press release the GBI posted Nov. 16.
“The victims that have been identified so far were children under the age of 15 at the time of the incidents,” the GBI stated.
The bureau identified Thomas as a former “youth pastor” at Restoration Worship Center in Metter. But WTOC-TV reported that Restoration Youth Center’s pastor said Thomas served for about a year as a children’s pastor but not over older youth and had been removed from the church staff over accusations about contact with teenagers before his arrest.
Thomas was released Nov. 18 from the Candler County Jail after posting an $80,000 property bond, a Candler County Sheriff’s Office staff member said Wednesday.
The GBI announced the investigation as “active and ongoing” and encourages anyone with information to contact the GBI Regional Investigative Office in Statesboro at (912) 871-1121. Anonymous tips can also be submitted by calling 1-800-597-TIPS (8477), online, or by downloading the See Something, Send Something mobile app.