By Kevin Kelley
Paul Endrei, the founder and senior pastor of Church on the Rise, is free on $50,000 bond after being arrested Thursday following an indictment on two counts of sexual battery and four counts of gross sexual imposition. All are felony level charges.
Court records indicate
Endrei, 53, was required to submit a DNS sample.
The indictment from the Lorain County grand jury indicates the alleged sexual misconduct took place in 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010, and on July 14, 2013. One of the gross sexual imposition counts, said to have taken place in 2005-2006, alleges the improper conduct took place with someone less than 12 years of age.
Church on the Rise issued a statement to the media in response to the charges against its pastor.
“The Church on the Rise of Westlake is aware of the recent indictment by Lorain County of Pastor Paul Endrei,” the statement read in part. “We pray for Pastor Paul, his wife and five children. We are aware that the allegations are coming from one of the children adopted by the Endrei’s. We pray that this troubled adolescent receive the help and counseling she needs. The Church believes in our legal system and that the truth will come out.”
The church also asked members of the media to refrain from entering church property for the privacy of Endrei and his family.
“Pastor Paul maintains his presumption of innocence and hope that all reserve judgment until all facts are properly aired in a court of law,” the statement also read.
Endrei, an Avon resident, briefly alluded to the accusations in a sermon entitled “Why God?” that was posted to the church’s website and dated June 1.
“When everything hit the news on Friday, you feel like, wow, this is just impossible to deal with,” Endrei said.
He also said he was encouraged when someone came to his house to give him a lawn mower, which he needed, and another person volunteered to mow his lawn.
“Even on a dark day when your spirit is crushed and your heart of grieving, you still have light,” Endrei said.
The sermon, which focused on the question of why God allows pain and suffering, included a discussion of Job, the Biblical figure whose prosperous life was shattered by one misfortune after another.
“I have a feeling I’m going to be reading a lot in Job in the next few weeks and months ahead,” Endrei said. “If I’m preaching a lot on Job, you know what I’m doing here. I’m helping myself.”