Central Florida pastor arrested on child sexual battery charge

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd expected to release more info Friday

Pastor David Cooper, of Mountain Movers Ministries, a church in Eloise.
Pastor David Cooper, of Mountain Movers Ministries, a church in Eloise.

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – A Central Florida pastor has been arrested on charges of raping a child under age 12.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office arrested 43-year-old David Cooper, the pastor of Mountain Movers Ministries in Eloise, on charges of sexual battery. He also faces charges of lewd exhibition with another girl under the age of 12.

Officials said an investigation began in September 2017 when deputies were called to Winter Haven hospital about a possible sexual abuse case. A forensic interview with the girl revealed that Cooper had exposed himself to the girl four times over the past year, deputies said.

During the investigation, it was learned that there might be a second victim of Cooper's, officials said. That person, who is now an adult, said that Cooper sexually abused her numerous times when she was a child, include having sexual intercourse with her at least five times, when she was 10 to 12 years old, according to officials.

Deputies said surveillance was conducted of a conversation between the now-adult victim and Cooper in which she recalled his sexual abuse of her, and he repeatedly told her that he was sorry for it.  

"One of the stressful aspects of working in law enforcement, is having to come face-to-face with horrendous acts by a child predator," Sheriff Grady Judd said. "It's because of the dedication of our deputies who investigated this, and other crimes like it, and the willingness of victims and witnesses to come forward, that this man won't be able to do this to any child ever again."

Cooper's contact with both victims was not obtained through his work at the church, deputies said.