An Arkansas pastor admitted using meth with parishioners and performing an exorcism on an emaciated 1-year-old boy, police said.
Lloyd Eddie Lasker Jr., pastor of the House of Refuge and Deliverance Ministries church in Mayflower, was arrested at a gas station with meth and a pipe on Sept. 22, according to court documents obtained by The News & Observer.
Four days earlier, police in nearby Conway responded to the church for a welfare check and discovered a 21-month-old child with “multiple bruises from head to toe,” as well as the boy’s mother and the 49-year-old pastor.
The boy’s mother claimed he “was possessed by a demon” before he was taken to a hospital, where he was admitted into an intensive care unit with a brain bleed and extreme malnourishment, police said.
Investigators then went to Lasker’s Mayflower home on Sept. 22 to ask him about the case, but he wasn’t there. Officers later spotted his white Dodge truck at a gas station in the small town of less than 2,000 north of Little Rock, where police say about 4 grams of meth in a small baggie was found inside his vehicle, an affidavit shows.
Cops also found a pipe and more meth on the truck’s passenger side, where Lasker had been sitting. A second man, Timothy Bynum, was standing near the driver’s side, police said.
Bynum told officers the drugs belonged to Lasker, who denied knowing the pipe and drugs were in the truck, but admitted to using meth “in the past,” as well as inside the church several times — including with the child’s mother and other parishioners, the affidavit shows.
Lasker also admitted trying to “exorcise the demon” in the boy, but refused to explain what that entailed, police said.
Officers also found a bag of suspected meth during a search of the church, as well as a shotgun at Lasker’s home, court documents show. As an ex-felon, Lasker had been barred from possessing handguns, The News & Observer reports.
Lasker, who has been charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a gun by a convicted felon, was released from custody after posting $7,500 bond, the Log Cabin Democrat reported Monday.
Lasker is due back in court on Oct. 13, court documents show. Attempts to reach someone at the church early Wednesday were unsuccessful.
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