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Indictment: Lake Wales youth minister made child porn

TBO.com
Published:   |   Updated: March 13, 2013 at 11:29 PM

A Lake Wales youth minister and registered sex offender facing multiple counts of having sex with children has been indicted on charges of producing child pornography.

A federal grand jury charged Arnold Maurice Mathis, 41, with two counts of producing and attempting to produce of child pornography, U.S. Attorney Robert E. O'Neill said.

If convicted, Mathis faces a mandatory minimum of 35 years and up to 50 years in federal prison on each count.

According to the indictment, between May and November 2011, Mathis persuaded and attempted to persuade two minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing visual depictions of the conduct.

At the time of the offenses, Mathis was a youth minister and associate pastor at Higher Praise Ministries, O'Neill said in a news release.

Mathis previously was arrested December and eventually charged with more than 100 sex offenses in connection with three youths, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said.

Mathis has been a registered sexual offender since a 1997 conviction in Leon County, records show.

In addition to serving four years for that conviction, Mathis was arrested in August 2004 and January 2011 for failing to register as a sex offender.

In 2005, Mathis was the senior pastor for Saint City Power and Praise Ministries in Winter Haven.

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