Police: Somerville pastor fabricated claims about church attack

Authorities in Somerset County say that a pastor lied when he said three people attacked him inside his church and tied him up.

Police say Jairon Pena lied about being attacked at his church in Somerville.

Police say Jairon Pena lied about being attacked at his church in Somerville. (11/2/15)

SOMERVILLE - Authorities in Somerset County say that a pastor lied when he said three people attacked him inside his church and tied him up.

Jairon Pena told police that two men and a woman had attacked him late Friday morning at the New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church in Somerville. Pena said the three removed bibles from the pews and scattered them throughout the church while making negative comments about his religious beliefs.

Pena said the three tied him up before leaving. When police arrived, they found him with his hands and legs loosely tied, a cloth stuffed into his mouth and a plastic bag over his head. 

There was also a piece of paper taped to his chest and back with a misspelled Islamic phrase on it, according to investigators.

However, investigators noted that Pena didn't have any visible injuries. When he was questioned by police, they said that his account of the incident had some inconsistencies in it.

Prosecutors said Pena fabricated the story due to some undisclosed "personal events."

News 12 New Jersey tried to ask Pena about the charges, but he would not come to the door of his home. The church’s van was parked in the driveway.

He's charged with filing a fictitious police report, a disorderly persons charge, and for creating false public alarm. He will have to appear in court to face those charges 

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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