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Mechanicsville pastor accused of embezzlement, paying for sexual favors

Published: May. 28, 2013 at 7:45 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2013 at 11:27 PM EDT
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HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - A pastor at Mechanicsville Advent Christian Church who is accused of embezzling thousands of dollars from his own church is now out of jail.

Chris Phillips has been released on his own recognizance. A Henrico woman, Tonya Farnsworth, is accused of extorting money from Phillips after he paid her for sexual favors.

Another pastor at the church would not comment if Phillips still works there, only saying, "We are praying for the Phillips family."

Hanover investigators say Phillips led them to arrest Farnsworth after they say she extorted him out of $100,000.

Police also arrested Phillips saying he embezzled more than $80,000 from his own church. Investigators will not say where that money went.

Investigators believe Phillips and Farnsworth met at her home on West End Drive. They say this is also where he would leave her money.

According to court documents, Phillips paid Farnsworth $200 for oral sex. In that report, Phillips says "he observed someone filming the encounter or taking photographs."

For the next three months, according to court records, Farnsworth sent Phillips text messages threatening to release the pictures unless he paid her. The documents say the threats happened almost daily.  Phillips worked with police to get Farnsworth to confess over text message, according to the affidavit. She tells him "never trust anyone with your fantasy."

Pastor Phillips' next court date is set for June 5. Tonya Farnsworth is schedule to be back in court on Thursday.

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