GRANDVIEW, Mo. -- The former deacon of a Grandview Baptist church is charged with four counts of child molestation. FOX 4 has learned 68-year-old John Stone helped lead many of the children's activities at his church.
“The church loved the man, he was here for many years. He was a deacon, he was a servant here in the church,” Pastor Michael Nelson said. “We are deeply saddened by what has happened. This is a tragedy on many different fronts."
Nelson said Stone attended Grandview First Baptist Church for decades, and was a deacon who helped lead vacation bible school and bible study for kids.
“The best thing that we knew how to do was immediately ask him to step down from all activities in regards to children and to any leadership activities,” Nelson said.
The alleged crimes didn't happen at church, but it's there that prosecutors say Stone met his young victims. They were children of a long-time friend who attended the same Sunday services.
“He was in their home, they were in their home, and they just grew into this relationship, and from what I know the victims really trusted the man,” Nelson said.
Stone has bonded out of jail, but nobody answered the door at his home Thursday evening. The alleged victims are just 10 and 12 years old. Prosecutors say Stone kissed and inappropriately touched the young girls while in their own home.
“We want to protect the church from those kinds of things, because not only do they hurt victims, but they go against the very message that we proclaim,” Nelson said.
It's that message that nelson hopes shines through during this tough time.
“We trust that the Lord, who is sovereign and in control of all things, is even still at work even in the midst of tragedy and we trust that in the end, that he will be at work and his will will be done,” Nelson said.
Nelson says he's supporting the victims and their family in any way he can. While Stone hasn't been back to church since these allegations came to light, the pastor says he’s praying for him, too.