Ex-Benton Pastor Indicted for Attempted Child Exploitation

Ex-Benton Pastor Indicted for Attempted Child Exploitation

BENTON – The 57-year-old former pastor of a Benton church has been indicted in federal court for attempted enticement of a minor child following an FBI sting targeting child exploitation.

Mark Allen Fitzpatrick, once pastor of Greater Life Sanctuary Church in Benton, was arrested in August and is currently free on a personal recognizance bond pending trial in federal court.

According to federal court documents, Fitzpatrick was arrested August 30 after he traveled to a residence in Marion for the alleged purpose of engaging in sexual activity with a 15-year-old juvenile male. FBI agents set up the meeting and intercepted him before placing him under arrest.

The arrest came after agents had set up a profile on a dating site posing as the juvenile male. Fitzpatrick had allegedly engaged in text conversations that included the exchange of pornographic photos. Federal agents reportedly seized Fitzpatrick’s Apple iPhone containing the conversations and photos exchanged with the teen.

He was arrested along with several other southern Illinois individuals who made contact online with a Special Agent from the FBI posing as an underage decoy.

Fitzpatrick is next scheduled to appear in federal court in Benton on September 28.

Photo Gallery