Church Deacon Sexually Assaults Girl During Service: Cops

A local deacon was arrested after he allegedly sexually assaulted a girl during a church service.

A local deacon was arrested after he allegedly sexually assaulted a girl during a church service.

Police say it happened last Sunday during a service at the Calvary Baptist Church. Joseph Pullen Jr., 59, of Pemberton Township was alone with the girl when he sexually assaulted her, according to investigators.

Credit: Burlington County Prosecutor's Office

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Police say an investigation revealed Pullen assaulted the same girl at a different location during the fall of 2011. Police have not released information on the girl's age.

Pullen was arrested Friday morning. He is charged with Aggravated Sexual Assault and Endangering the Welfare of a Child for both alleged assaults. He was taken into custody with bail set at $250,000 with no 10 percent option.

Lane and Loretta Bader have known Pullen for 8 years. They tell NBC10 he is a grandfather, is retired from the Fort Dix Municipal Utilities Authority and has a wife who is a school teacher.

"I know Joe," said Lane. "He's very religious. If he would need a character witness I'm there by his side. I just find this absolutely hard to believe. Something is not right here." 

A neighbor and her daughter told NBC10 they thought it was strange when he knocked on their door a few months back.

"He asked for a cell phone charger for his grandkid last winter," said the woman. "I said 'we didn't have one that fit. Then he left. He went from door to door to door."

"I feel bad for her," said the woman's daughter. "I can't believe that he did that."

NBC10 also spoke with the pastor of Calvary Baptist. He told us he did not feel comfortable talking about the arrest since the investigation is ongoing. The pastor also serves as a chaplain at the Pemberton Township Police Department.

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