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Pastor charged with 16 counts of criminal sexual conduct

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A northern Minnesota pastor faces 16 counts of felony criminal sexual conduct. 

Scott Morey was charged Friday in Clearwater County court, accused of engaging in sexual conduct with three young boys.     

County Attorney Richard Mollin said the abuse cited in the criminal complaint began in 2009, when the youngest victim was 9 years old. Morey used money, phones and other devices to bribe his victims, according to the complaint.

The five years of alleged abuse came to light in late 2014 when an older brother of one of the victims noticed suggestive text messages from Morey on his brother's phone and alerted law enforcement. 

Morey is the pastor of three Lutheran congregations in Polk and Mahnomen counties. Morey, 42, lives with his wife and children in Shevlin, a town 20 miles west of Bemidji. 

Mollin said Morey has resigned from at least one of his churches. His status at the other two churches is unknown at this time.

Morey is being held on $800,000 bail. His next hearing will be in late February.