A Colorado pastor has been arrested after he allegedly sexually assaulted and impregnated a 14-year-old girl.
Romello Leach, 22, of Colorado Springs, is reported to have admitted to engaging in "at least four" sexual acts with the teenage girl, according to The Daily Caller. The admission reportedly came during a Nov. 21 phone call with Leach's ex-wife, during which he was not aware authorities were listening.
The girl gave birth to a baby reported to be Leach's on Sept. 15, two months after she turned 15.
Leach, who is being temporarily held without bail, was charged with eight felonies, including four counts of sexual assault on someone under the age of 15 by someone in a position of trust, and four counts of sexual abuse of a child aged 15-18 by someone in a position of trust.
Leach could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted of the charges, according to Heavy. According to Colorado Springs lawyer Ted McClintock, Leach would also have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Police are investigating to determine whether Leach had other victims, as he was in contact with other children during his work as a pastor. Leach, a licensed minister, has worked with multiple churches that meet in Colorado Springs.
During the phone conversation with Leach's ex-wife, the pastor said he knew his actions were wrong, but said he was "full of lust," reports The Associated Press.
"He tells her that he knows he has made the worst mistake," said an affidavit, according to KMGH. "He says it is not like he will go around and sleep with everybody's 13 or 14-year-old daughter. He says it was at a horrible time."
The teenage girl told police that she had sex with Leach twice, once in his car in November 2016, and once at the girl's home in 2017. She initially told police the father of the baby was a "friend from their church," who was identified later as Leach.
The victim is reported to have not told anyone about her pregnancy until her mother noticed in May that she had "a larger belly."
Leach, who is originally from Charleston, South Carolina, had previously worked as a human resources assistant for the U.S. Army, according to his LinkedIn profile. But a Fort Carson spokesperson said it had no record of him serving there.
He was also reported to have worked as a "kaleidoscope counselor" for the Charleston County School District.
Investigators said Leach "has had access to an unknown number of children/teens," asking those who had been victimized by Leach to contact police.
"It's just very disheartening and it's very concerning," said the El Paso County Sheriff's Office's Jackie Kirby. "You go to places and you're there to learn and to grow and [for] fellowship, and this kind of thing happens and it's just tragic."