PASTOR ARRESTED FOR VIOLATING RULES AMID VIRUS OUTBREAK

By TAMARA LUSH and CHRIS O’MEARA
Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – Florida officials have arrested the pastor of a megachurch after detectives say he held two Sunday services with hundreds of people and violated a safer-at-home order in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

According to jail records, Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne turned himself in to authorities Monday afternoon in Hernando County, where he lives. Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister says he told church leaders of the danger they are putting themselves and their congregation in by not maintaining appropriate social distancing.

The county and governor’s orders require gatherings be fewer than 10 people to limit the spread of COVID-19. A live stream of Sunday’s three-and-a-half-hour church service showed scores of congregants.

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