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Jul 27, 2012 5:01 PM by Matt Stafford

Pa. church, pastor charged in fake kidnapping

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A southeastern Pennsylvania church and a youth pastor are facing criminal charges for a mock kidnapping of a youth group that was meant to be a lesson in religious persecution.

Authorities Friday charged the Glad Tidings Assembly of God in Middletown and 28-year-old Andrew David Jordan of Elizabethtown with false imprisonment and simple assault.

The church staged the event in March. Mock kidnappers covered the teenagers' heads, put them in a van and interrogated them. Neither the young people nor their parents were told beforehand. The mother of a 14-year-old girl filed a complaint with police.

District Attorney Ed Marsico said that while the church's and Jordan's intentions were not necessarily harmful, "they in essence terrorized several children."

A message left at the church was not immediately returned.

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