Shocked leaders at an Oklahoma church are expected to hold a prayer vigil for a local pastor Tuesday after he was battered by a father who accused him of inappropriately touching his son, arrested and charged by police with lewd/indecent acts to a child.
The boy's parents told police they caught Michael Coghill, 33, the recently fired discipleship minister at Lakehoma Church of Christ in Mustang, preying on their child as he waited for his school bus at a bus stop last Wednesday, according to News 9.
"There's hardly any words that are camera appropriate," Lisa Ward, who witnessed the commotion, told the news outlet. "It's just sickening."
The boy told his parents that Coghill, who lives in another community near the bus stop, had run by him several times and touched him in an uncomfortable way.
"He knew the time he would be there every day," Ward explained. "That was the hardest part, the most disgusting part."
On the day the pastor got beat up, the boy's father waited in his car to see if Coghill would return, and he did.
"While he was watching the school bus stop, our suspect ran by him, ran past the bus stop where the children were waiting. Turned around, came back and stopped where he touched the child," Sgt. Dillon Quirk of the Oklahoma City Police Department said.
And that's when the father jumped into action and tackled the pastor to the ground. When police arrived, the minister had visible injuries to his face.
"He was in the cop car all bloody," Ward told News 9.
After news of Coghill's arrest was made public, elders from Lakehoma Church of Christ revealed in a statement on Facebook that he was fired.
"We were heartbroken to learn of the incident that occurred yesterday morning involving Mike Coghill, our discipleship minister," the statement said. "And we were shocked to learn this news through social media today. Mike has a clean background check, and we have received no reports or claims against him during his tenure at Lakehoma. We will be fully cooperating with law enforcement as needed."
The church elders noted that they also determined "it was in the best interest of all parties for Mike to be relieved from all duties."
"He will no longer be on staff at Lakehoma," the statement assured.
Lakehoma Church of Christ leaders also urged prayers for the family of the victim.
At Choctaw Church of Christ, where Coghill worked for five years before moving to Lakehoma Church of Christ, a shocked Pastor Marti Kessler and his team will be holding a prayer vigil for the battered minister at 9 p.m. on Tuesday.
"Knowing his character and his work here, no way, how could this happen?" Kessler told News 9. "Like it was a sick joke of some kind. I couldn't believe it, thought somebody had doctored the picture."
Police said the parent got video evidence of Coghill's alleged crime, but Kessler will be praying that there might be some evidence that can clear him.
"We're having a prayer vigil, we'll call it, starting at 9 p.m. tonight going through 7 a.m. in the morning," Kessler said. "My hope is there's something, some kind of evidence that in the end will prove Mike's innocence."