Children's pastor charged with child pornography

Children's pastor charged with child pornography

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A longtime children's pastor in Jonesboro has been charged with computer child pornography, according to documents filed in Jonesboro District Court Wednesday afternoon.

Tony Waller, 39, had tens of thousands of files of nude or scantily clad pubescent girls in his possession, according to the Jonesboro Police Department.

Detective Brandon King, who is investigating Waller's case, said it is one of the largest child pornography cases he has ever seen.

According to the affidavit, Waller's wife told police she found child pornography on a laptop she and her husband shared. She told police while looking for a file, she stumbled across folders she did not recognize, which turned out to be thousands of videos and pictures of little girls.

When Waller's wife confronted him, he admitted to having a child porn addiction for more than 20 years. He turned over the laptop and two drives to her, which she then gave to police.

King said it will take months to go through all of the pornographic files, and he praises Waller's wife for what she did.

"She's just as caught off guard as anyone else," King said. "She's very hurt and very upset and honestly had no idea that anything was going on. She said it's a roller coaster, which would be expected."

King said he does not believe any local children are affected, but the investigation is still ongoing.

Waller has worked at Jonesboro First Assembly of God since April 1999, according to the church's website.

Senior Pastor Matt Smith told Region 8 News that Waller has been fired from the church. 

"First of all to the best of our understanding, the allegations against Mr. Waller don't involve anything with our church as far as we know," Smith said on the phone.

Smith said the church cut ties with Waller shortly after learning of the allegations.

"We are in a great deal of shock," Smith said. "I encourage the church to handle this with three prongs of love: focus on loving each other as a church family, show tremendous of love to his family and continue to love him."

Jonesboro First Assembly is still holding its regular Wednesday night service.

Waller appeared before District Judge Keith Blackman Wednesday, who reduced his bond to $2,500. He will appear in court next June 29.

Copyright 2015 KAIT. All rights reserved.