A Winter Haven church pastor was arrested on Thursday for improper sexual conduct with two minors, deputies say.
Pastor David Cooper, 43, of Moving Mountains Ministries in Winter Haven was arrested for the sexual battery of a girl under the age of twelve, and lewd exhibition with another girl under twelve, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s office.
Officials began to investigate the pastor in September 2017 when deputies responded to Winter Haven Hospital regarding a possible sexual abuse of a girl under the age of twelve. A forensic interview with the girl did reveal that Cooper had exposed himself to her on four occasions in the past year.
Investigators later discovered that there may have been a second victim. That person, who is now an adult, said that Cooper sexually abused her numerous times when she was a child, to include sexual intercourse at least five times when she was between 10 and 12 years old.
Surveillance was conducted of a conversation between the now-adult victim and Cooper in which she recalled his sexual abuse of her, and he repeatedly told her that he was sorry for it.
“One of the stressful aspects of working in law enforcement, is having to come face-to-face with horrendous acts by a child predator,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. “It’s because of the dedication of our deputies who investigated this, and other crimes like it, and the willingness of victims and witnesses to come forward, that this man won’t be able to do this to any child ever again.”
Deputies say that Cooper ‘s contact with both victims was not obtained through his work at the church. However, they are still asking that any potential victims come forward.
“These victims were not children he had access to through the church but we need to know from the families who attend if they think their children might be victims,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd in a press conference Friday morning.
Cooper was arrested and charged with sexual battery, victim under 12 and lewd/lascivious exhibition, victim under 12. He has no known prior criminal history.
If you know David Cooper and suspect he may have had inappropriate contact with a child, please call PCSO at 863-298-6200.