Baptist pastor charged with grooming 15-year-old after frantically deleting Snapchat messages
Joseph M. Krol (booking photo)

When Illinois pastor Joseph M. Krol realized that police were knocking on his door, he grabbed his phone and deleted Snapchat messages he'd exchanged with a 15-year-old girl, according to police.

Krol even performed a factory reset on his phone, the Herald & Review reports, but it would prove to be too late.

The girl's family had already turned over her phone to authorities, allowing police to take over her Snapchat account and converse with Krol.

Krol, the 36-year-old pastor of Rochester First Baptist Church, was arrested last Friday and charged with grooming a minor.

"Prior to answering the door, (Krol) is seen grabbing his cell phone and manipulating the buttons while standing in the kitchen area," Sgt. Roger Pope of the Macon County Sheriff's Office told the Herald & Review. "Deputies immediately located his phone, but (he) had factory reset the phone in an attempt to wipe all of the data."

"(She) allowed me to take over her Snapchat account and act as her while conversing with Krol," Pope wrote in an affidavit. "During our conversations, Krol requested photos of (the girl) in her underwear. Unsolicited, he sent her Snapchat a video (showing the outline of his genitalia). He also asked her sexually explicit questions about ... her fantasies to include her interest in older men."

Leaders at Galilee Baptist Church, which Krol pastored until June 2021, issued a statement saying they were "saddened" to learn of the charges against him, according to the Christian Post.

"We as a church take these allegations seriously and will cooperate with law enforcement in any investigation," the church leaders said. "We are eager to minister to all involved in this situation and will be offering professional counseling services to the victim of the alleged incident. ... We are praying for all involved."