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Jeanerette pastor issued cease-and-desist letter after holding large gathering at church

Posted at 10:05 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 23:41:54-04

The Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office issued a cease-and-desist letter to the pastor of Calvary Pentecostal Church in Jeanerette on Tuesday night after an event that violated Gov. Edwards' ban on large gatherings.

PIO Major Wendell Raborn confirmed the Sheriff's Office was contacted by the Jeanerette City Marshals and the Jeanerette Police Department after learning that the church was hosting church services Tuesday night with about 50 people. The Sheriff's Office issued the cease-and-desist letter to Pastor Wesley Jackson, strongly urging against any further gatherings.

Raborn says this is not the first cease-and-desist letter the Sheriff's Office has issued since Gov. Edwards' order went into effect earlier this month; deputies have issued about three so far.

"Fortunately, we've had cooperation from everyone," Raborn added.

If the church continues to hold gatherings that violate the governor's order, Raborn said local authorities like the City Marshals and City Police could issue a summons and could even arrest the pastor for doing so.

"It just depends on how far they'll go," said Raborn. "[We] just hope everyone will cooperate and realize that now is a time to obey the proclamation and practice social distancing to reduce [the number of cases of COVID-19]."

Gov. Edwards expanded state-wide restrictions on March 23, when a statewide stay at home order went into effect. Included in the new restrictions is a order calling for the postponement or cancellation of gatherings of more than 10 people.

A Baton Rouge-area pastor was charged on Tuesday with six counts of violating the governor's order after holding church services with more than 500 people in attendance. Read more on that here.