Rodney Howard Browne, the pastor of a Tampa megachurch, is facing charges after he reportedly held packed church services despite a "safer at home" order in effect in Hillsborough County.
The order was to help curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus, but according to the sheriff, Browne had as many as 500 parishioners in his church services.
The pastor turned himself in on Monday afternoon after a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Browne was charged for charges of unlawful assembly and violating public health emergency rules of isolation and quarantine. He was released 40 minutes later after posting a $500 bond.
"His reckless disregard for human life put hundreds of people in his congregation at risk and thousands of residents who may interact with them this week in danger," Sheriff Chad Chronister said at a press conference Monday afternoon. "They have access to technology allowing them to live stream their services over the internet and broadcast to their 400 members from the safety of their own homes, but instead they chose to gather at church."