Wood Co. pastor facing rape charges - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Wood Co. pastor facing rape charges

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LUCKEY, Ohio -

A local pastor is in trouble with the law, sitting behind bars on rape charges.  The now former pastor led the Zion United Methodist Church in Luckey.

Ernest Sampson is now out of that job after his indictment in February on rape and gross sexual imposition charges.  It turns out he was not only a pastor but also licensed with the state and has served as a substitute teacher.

A grand jury indicted Sampson on 3 counts of gross sexual imposition and 2 counts of rape.  Court documents say these alleged incidents happened between 2009 and 2012. 

In two of the charges the victim is listed as under 13 years old.

13abc went to Sampson's home and Church Friday with no answer at either one.  But we did receive a statement from the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church.  It says in part: 

"Upon learning of his arrest and the nature of the charges, we immediately removed Mr. Sampson from any position on the church's pastoral team and relieved him of all responsibilities at the church."

Church leaders say they take any allegations like this extremely seriously.  Sampson pleaded not guilty to the charges on Thursday.  A trial date has been set for April 1st .  He was ordered to have no contact with the victim or members of the victim's family.  A Church statement would go onto say: 

"As we learn more about this situation please know that we are shocked and deeply saddened and appeal for patience, grace and prayer for the congregation, for the persons who made the allegations and their families, for our colleague, and for all who may be affected by this situation." 

As for his experiences in teaching, 13abc did find he's had several one year short term substitute licenses.  School leaders in Rossford tell us that he served as a substitute in that district in the 2010-2011 school year. 

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