By Associated Press - Friday, March 6, 2020

VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) - A Mississippi church pastor was found guilty of sexually assaulting two girls between the ages of 14 and 16.

The Rev. Troy Anthony Piccaluga was arrested in March 2018 and charged with two counts of statutory rape and one count of sexual battery.

A Warren County jury found Piccaluga guilty Thursday of one count of statutory rape and one count of sexual battery, The Vicksburg Post reported.

District Attorney Ricky Smith said the jury was unable to reach a verdict on the second statutory rape charge.

Piccaluga was the pastor at United Methodist churches in Eagle Lake and Redwood. The Warren County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint about a girl having a sexual relationship with an older man. They began investigating Piccaluga and discovered another victim.

Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said that after the clerk read the guilty verdict, Piccaluga pulled what appeared to be pills out of his pocket and took them. He was hospitalized and later released. Piccaluga is on suicide watch.

His sentencing hearing is set for March 27.

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