Palestine pastor faces sex charge

LISBON — A pastor of a local outreach center and business owner in East Palestine stands accused of having sexual physical contact with a teenage girl throughout a near three-year period.

Rodney W. McManus, 49, Alice Street, East Palestine, appeared by video from the county jail for his arraignment in the Columbiana County Municipal Court on Thursday.

An Oct. 19 preliminary hearing was set for McManus, who has been charged with attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. McManus is accused of sexually touching the girl inside her clothing on multiple occasions between January 2014 and August 2017. The girl was reportedly under the age of 16 and older than 13 when the actions allegedly occurred.

Court documents state McManus reportedly met the girl while he was serving in his capacity as pastor of the NewLife Outreach Church, which held local services at The Coffee Stop, including youth activities for teenagers. Bond is set at $25,000 cash or surety.

The NewLife Outreach Center and The Coffee Stop closed in September. McManus and the others involved in the organization posted a note on Facebook.

“Our Mission and purpose to bring the people of East Palestine to a closer relationship with God and each other remains our prayer. Please connect to a supportive House of God and continue to support small businesses of East Palestine. God Be With You, the Board of the NewLife Outreach.”