Louisiana pastor charged, accused of hosting large gatherings despite state order

CENTRAL, La. (WVLT/WAFB) -- A Louisiana pastor was charged with six misdemeanor counts of disobeying the powers of the governor, according to prosecutors.

WAFB reported that, on March 31, the Central Police Department issued Mark Anthony Spell, the pastor of Life Tabernacle Church, a misdemeanor summons for six counts of violating the governor's executive order. Investigators said Spell hosted large gatherings.

“Over the last two weeks I have worked with the Sheriff, State Police the State Fire Marshal, Reverend Tony Perkins and others to address this matter outside of legal action. Mr. Spell made his intentions to continue to violate the law clear,” Chief Roger Corcoran with Central Police Department said in a statement. "Instead of showing the strength and resilience of our community during this difficult time, Mr. Spell has chosen to embarrass us for his own self-promotion.

"Mr. Spell will have his day in court where he will be held responsible for his reckless and irresponsible decisions that endangered the health of his congregation and our community.

“This is not an issue over religious liberty, and it’s not about politics. We are facing a public health crisis and expect our community’s leaders to set a positive example and follow the law.”

WAFB reported that one county was issued each time Spell allegedly held a gathering at his church that exceeded the limit set by the governor. WAFB reported that Spell has held multiple church services with hundreds in attendance.

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