Mitchell J. Rousse, 33, of Diane Street in Patterson was arrested Wednesday at 8:44 a.m., on Kenner Police Department warrants for one count of computer-aided solicitation of sexual purposes and three counts of indecent behavior with juveniles.
He was arrested at First Baptist Church of Morgan City, where he was employed.
The church issued a statement late Wednesday indicating his employment has been terminated.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened by the actions of Mitchell Rousse. We express deep regret for any hurts his actions might have caused. We are in full cooperation with local police authorities and have been assured that no local children are involved. His employment at First Baptist Church of Morgan City has been terminated,” the Rev. Nathan Rush, the church‘s pastor, said.
Kenner Police Lt. Wayne McInnis said the arrest is a result of work by the department’s cybercrime unit. The “victim” was an undercover police officer posing as an underage female. McInnis declined to give the age of the purported victim so as not to jeopardize ongoing investigations.
The pair met in a chat room in March and formed a relationship which lasted through December. Over the course of that time, Rousse sent three photos of his genitals to what he believed to be the underage female and solicited her for sex, McInnis said.
He also indicated that Rousse admitted this upon questioning after his arrest.
All of the activity occurred at the church on the church’s computer equipment, McInnis said.
Kenner police contacted the Morgan City Police Department approximately one week ago indicating they were working the case in which they traced the Internet Protocol address to the church. Kenner authorities, with the assistance of the MCPD, Louisiana State Police and the Office of Homeland Security, executed a search warrant at the church for Rousse’s computer and located Rousse there. He was taken to Kenner Wednesday, questioned and subsequently booked.
Rousse remained incarcerated this morning in the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center with no bond set.
This is not the first case in which the church has been the site of a tragedy involving a child.
In October 1992, Shane Michael Pullen, 9, was raped and murdered behind the church after services by John Malachi Connolly III, a church volunteer in various capacities who had sought to be a Sunday school teacher but had been denied.
Initially sentenced to death for the first degree murder of Pullen, Connolly’s sentence eventually was commuted to life in prison.