A local church congregation will hold a prayer vigil for a minister arrested last week on a child sex crime complaint.
Choctaw Church of Christ pastor Marti Kessler said the prayer vigil for Michael Coghill, 33, will start at 9 p.m. on Tuesday.
This case has gained national attention since the minister's arrest by Oklahoma City police.
“Knowing his character and his work here, no way, how could this happen?” Kessler said.
Coghill worked with the youth for five years at Choctaw Church of Christ, prior to serving as a minister at Lakehoma Church of Christ in Mustang. Kessler said he could not believe it when he saw Coghill's bruised face on the news.
“Like it was a sick joke of some kind,” Kessler said. “I couldn’t believe it, thought somebody had doctored the picture.”
Coghill was beat up last week by the father of 9-year-old boy. The child accused Coghill of touching him inappropriately at a school bus stop. Police said the parent got video evidence of the alleged crime.
The victim’s neighbors were left in shock and concerned for their children.
“There’s hardly any words that are camera appropriate,” neighbor Lisa Ward said. “It’s just sickening.”
Kessler said parents in his congregation have only showed support for the former minister.
“They keep coming to me saying, ‘We talked to our kids because our kids were in the youth group when Mike was here,’” Kessler said. “And they all say, ‘No way, no how.’”
Kessler said the church will come together to pray for Coghill and his family.
“We’re having a prayer vigil, we’ll call it, starting at 9 p.m. tonight going through 7 a.m. in the morning,” Kessler said. “My hope is there’s something, some kind of evidence, that in the end will prove Mike’s innocence.”
The church in Mustang where Coghill most recently served as a minister said church elders met last week and decided to let him go due to the allegations.
Coghill has not been formally charged by the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office.