A week after he was charged with sexually violating a church member while going to the congregant's home to fix a refrigerator, Antwon M. Funches Sr., the leader of the historic St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Freeport, Illinois, remains in the pulpit.
"He was my pastor that I trusted dearly," Funches’ alleged victim and church member who was not identified due to privacy reasons said in an order of protection filed against him cited by WREX. "I didn't deserve to be violated."
The victim alleged that Funches "sexually violated" him or her while traveling to the parishioner's home to fix a refrigerator on June 18. Freeport Police records show that the pastor was arrested on July 8.
Freeport Police were not able to immediately provide a copy of Funches’ arrest record, but The Roys Report reports the order of protection against the pastor instructs him to stop contacting the parishioner’s family and “to stop spreading rumors in the church.”
In both appearances, Funches, who is expected in court for a hearing on Aug. 12, did not mention anything about the arrest but focused his messages on inspirational Scriptures, including Romans 8:28.
The verse states: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”
The St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church website states that Funches “formerly served as a board member of the FSD 145 School District and currently 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.”
When The Christian Post reached out to the office of Freeport City Manager Randy Bukas, a spokesperson distanced the office from the pastor.
“Oh, I would say that’s taking it a little far,” the spokesperson, who asked not to be named for this report, said after the description from the church’s website was highlighted. “That is definitely not the case. We were not aware that that was up there. That might be his thinking, but that’s definitely not the position of the city or the city manager.”
Pointing to the arrest and the allegations, the spokesperson said, “That is not our issue. It’s a police issue.”
When asked if Funches was still a member of its board, a representative of Amity Daycare & Learning Center told CP that "we have no comment at this time.”
Calls made to Funches’ church and home went unanswered Monday.
The allegation against Funches comes almost five years after he was appointed the 15th pastor of the 110-year-old church.
“Rev. Funches is a family man and believes ministry starts at home. He is married to his childhood sweetheart and wife of 19 years, Allison Nicole (Simpson),” the church notes.
The pastor is also a father of five and has three grandchildren.
“Since becoming a part of the Freeport community, Pastor Funches has become a pillar and a voice of reason, advocating for justice, egalitarianism, and quality education and housing in this community,” the church website explains.
Funches was previously a Cook County Sheriff’s officer from 2002 to 2009. He pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit major heroin and cocaine deals and providing security for drug deals shortly before officially leaving the sheriff’s office.