DeSoto Parish youth pastor, high school student arrested on chil - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

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DeSoto Parish youth pastor, high school student arrested on child porn charges

Zachary S. Almarode, 25 (Source: DeSoto Parish Sheriff's Office) Zachary S. Almarode, 25 (Source: DeSoto Parish Sheriff's Office)
Lauren Maschino, 18 (Source: DeSoto Parish sheriff's Office) Lauren Maschino, 18 (Source: DeSoto Parish sheriff's Office)
STONEWALL, LA (KSLA) -

An ArkLaTex youth pastor and North DeSoto High School student have been arrested and charged with pornography involving juveniles, according to the Desoto Parish Sheriff's Office.

Detective Adam Ewing says they arrested 25-year-old Zachary Almarode on Thursday night along with 18-year-old Lauren Maschino.

Ewing says the arrests came as the result of a tip from a"concerned subject" about possible inappropriate contact on school property between a youth minister and a student. Investigators determined that the contact did not take place on school property, but child pornography was allegedly found on cellular devices belong to both Almarode and Maschino. 

Almarode works as a youth pastor at Salem Baptist Church in Stonewall and was approaching his third anniversary on the job. Pastor Dr. Mike Hawkins confirmed Friday morning that Almarode was terminated from that position after word of the arrest.

Some parents described the arrests as shocking. "It is and it's scary for our students. You know, I have a teenager, a young one, so it's you know, we didn't go to church there but still you have to always be careful I guess," said Brandy Pearce.

Dr. Hawkins explained he first got wind of this investigation by a parent on Wednesday and said investigators asked him not to take any actions until detectives could go into the church house in which Almarode, his wife and two small children live, to collect evidence in the case.

We tried to speak with Almarode's family about the allegations. But a woman who answered the door told us, "We have no comments at this moment."

"Dr. Cade Brumley, superintendent of DeSoto Parish Schools, said it is his understanding that none of the alleged illegal activity took place on campus at North DeSoto High School. 

Dr. Brumley also told us that just last month school officials had asked Almarode to stop visiting for a time because he was coming to campus so often.

We met one man who described a very unsettling feeling after meeting Almarode once before. "Real nice guy when you meet him but to me there's layers in there. And I picked up on the layers that I wouldn't trust him around my kids," said Scott Peeples.

Copyright 2017 KSLA. All rights reserved.

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