A 32-year-old married Hillsong pastor in New Jersey resigned Tuesday after he sent provocative photos of himself to a woman who once served as a volunteer at his church chapter, the Daily Mail reported. The recent exposé comes after former prominent Hillsong New York City Chapter head Carl Lentz was fired for having an affair with another woman.
In the two photos, the married pastor, Darnell Barrett, who was also the creative director of the Montclair – New Jersey chapter of the church, is seen posing before a mirror bare-chested and in white Nike Pro tights. His manhood appears to visibly protrude from the tights.
Barrett reportedly shared the photos with a group of “close friends” on his Instagram story – meaning they were the only ones privy to it. The pastor had created the closed group to share motivational images of his journey while battling “depression and anxiety.”
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And though the unidentified 30-year-old female was not part of the group, the “man of God” shared the photos featuring his seemingly visible manhood with her via direct message. Barrett then messaged the female and pretended he had sent the photos by mistake in an attempt to get her attention, the Daily Mail reported.
“Hey! I think I might’ve added you to my close friends list by accident,” Barrett wrote. “I’m so sorry. Trying to figure out how the hell to edit it.” The lady, who had not yet seen how supposedly explicit the photos were, replied: “Lol rude! I’m NOT a close friend is what you’re saying.” Barrett appeared to bring her attention to the photos’ “contents” by responding: “It’s some real raw s**t I send to my friends man. Lol.”
The female told the news outlet she only got to know about the nature of the photos after a friend brought it to her attention. And though she initially blocked him, she unblocked him and sent him a scathing message.
“’Darnell, I’m not going to lie, I blocked your for a second but I’ve decided I need to say something to you,” she reportedly said in the message. “First off, I’m insulted that you wouldn’t understand what you’re doing but I’m not f**king stupid. For you to go out of your way to make it seem like you ‘accidentally’ added me to your close friends… and then, went out of your way to message me about it KNOWING that would make me go look is bulls**t.”
She added: “Obviously, what you wanted me to see were the shirtless photos and the outline of your d**k, let’s not play and act like that wasn’t the point. Your messages to bait me into seeing your ‘raw s**t’ are obvious.
“To be honest, this whole ‘fishing’ scheme of yours to see if I will bite isn’t what even pissed me off. What pisses me off is knowing that I’m not the only person you’ve probably done this to. I’m actually horrified by the thought of how many other innocent girls you’ve manipulated with this ploy of yours….”
Responding to the female’s message, Barrett replied with, “I’m sorry?”
When the pastor was asked about the photos by the Daily Mail, he admitted sending them but claimed it was a mistake, adding that he even informed his wife after it happened. He also confirmed he had resigned but mentioned that it was because he had cheated on his wife.
“I was not at all trying to lure her,’ he said. “I get that she, within the context of what’s happening with Hillsong, that she would draw those conclusions,” he said. “But I barely know her. That was not my intention.”
However, the female, who was adamant Barrett intentionally sent the photos, also said she did not really know him. Despite that, she said the pastor had still initially contacted her to let her know he was planning on visiting her state.
“Hillsong accepted his resignation and agreed that he could not continue as part of our team. We were disappointed to learn about choices he made that were unacceptable for any Hillsong staff member,” the statement said. “We also take seriously our responsibility to ensure that our staff is equally committed to creating a safe and Christ-centered environment where all people feel welcome”