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Bishop Robert L. Carter, 39. (Photo: Screenshot/Black Preaching Network)

International Bible Way Church of Jesus Christ, a South Carolina-based Christian denomination that claims some 600 churches globally, has suspended Bishop Robert Carter, the leader of their Gulf Coast Diocese who was charged with raping a family member at least 600 times beginning when she was 7. He is also alleged to have fathered a child with the victim.

"International Bible Way has been made aware of the charges and statements concerning the alleged conduct of Bishop Robert Carter. We hereby, suspend Bishop Robert Carter of all diocese and pastoral duties concerning International Bible Way," the church said in a statement released on Facebook Wednesday.

Carter, 39, was arrested Monday and charged with sexual assault of a child between the ages of 14 and 17 and continuous sexual abuse of a child, according to KPRC 2.

Court documents cited by the news outlet claim that Carter began abusing his family member in 2008. He allegedly would visit the child's room nightly and make her perform a sex act on him. As the victim got older, Carter was accused of intensifying his sexual abuse inside his home, in a parking lot before dropping her off at school, at his grandmother's home and several times at an office at Greater Bible Way Church where he worked.

His most recent pastoral job listed online is senior pastor of Sanctuary Church of Jesus Christ in downtown Houston.

The victim, now 21, told police that Carter enticed her into sex acts as a little girl using candy and allegedly showed her pornography on his phone.

"The victim in this case alleges that she was sexually abused from the age of 7 and it did not conclude until she was 19, with the sexual encounters occurring hundreds of times," prosecutors said during Carter's court appearance, according to KHOU 11.

A warrant for Carter's arrest said the victim got pregnant and secretly gave birth to Carter's baby when she was 16. The victim's father, who asked not to be identified, told KPRC2 that Carter took the baby from the teenager and dropped the baby off at a fire station.

The victim's father said his daughter was so damaged by the abuse she spent time in a psychiatric hospital.

"She's had an episode where she ended up in the hospital for psychiatric reasons," he said while noting his shock at Carter abusing his daughter as a child.

Court documents say when the victim resisted Carter's advances, he told her, "If you don't do this, I promise you're going to regret it, and I'm going to make your life a living Hell."

The pastor's bond was set at $200,000, and a judge ordered him on Monday to stay away from any place where children might be, including schools, parks and churches. He is also only allowed supervised visits with his 14-year-old son.

"Too often people in positions of power abuse and take advantage of people that trust them. I look forward to allowing the complainant's voice to be heard," the prosecutor told KHOU11 in a statement. 

After his client's hearing, the pastor's attorney, Eric Davis, urged the public to exercise caution in assigning guilt to Carter as prosecutors sought to conduct a DNA test on the victim's child.

"When he learned of the charges, he turned himself in, so he can clear his name," Davis said. "We'd ask before there's a trial, that he be presumed innocent, that people can keep an open mind and hold to them the Constitutional presumption of innocence."

Courtesy of The Christian Post.