Mother, 2 pastors arrested for child abuse
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Two pastors and a child’s mother were indicted on charges of child abuse years after it was reported.
Michelle Strong is the girl’s mother. According to an arrest affidavit, Strong told police officers she, “wanted the child gone because she has been stealing.”
The girl told officers she didn’t want to be with her mother because she wasn’t being fed.
The alleged abuse was reported in October 2018.
At the time, the then-8-year-old girl was taken to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and examined. The results found severe bruising and swelling as well as scars and whip marks.
The girl told hospital staff she hadn’t eaten in four days. She also said she was beaten with a belt and switches by her mother as well as Apostle Calvin Dixon and Pastor Tori Dixon.
Doctors told police the injuries were from “child abuse by torture“ and said the girl had lost 28 pounds in 11 months.
Strong was indicted on aggravated child abuse charges.
Calvin and Tori Dixon are also charged in connection with the case. They each face four counts of aggravated child abuse.
It’s unclear why the indictment didn’t come until 2022 when the charges occurred in 2018.
According to social media posts, the Dixons are pastors at The Place of Reconciliation in Batesville, Mississippi.
Batesville residents told Action News 5 they were shocked after finding out their neighbors, lead pastors at The Place of Reconciliation, were indicted for allegedly abusing the child.
“It’s crazy because I did not know that,” one neighbor told Action News 5.
This neighbor did not want to be on camera but told us they didn’t know the accused, Pastors Calvin and Tori Dixon.
Court records show Strong and the Dixons with the same address back in 2018.
“How did they have a church and they’re abusing kids? That’s crazy and for it to be happening right here in Batesville and not know anything about it,” said one neighbor.
Michelle Strong is charged with four counts of aggravated child abuse. She’s being held on a $150,000 bond.
Calvin and Tori Dixon are each charged with four counts of aggravated child abuse. They’re also being held on a $150,000 bond.
The Dixons are due in court Tuesday for an arraignment at 201 Poplar.
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