The Alexander County pastor facing more than a dozen felony insurance fraud charges spoke out for the first time on Tuesday.
The pastor of New Beginnings Christian Fellowship said he has prayed every day since learning of the allegations.
Pastor Chuck Hager read from his Bible as he talked about the charges he now faces, including insurance fraud and obtaining property by false pretenses.
“We are going to fight it in court. I'm a pastor and I'm going to fight it anyway I can," Hager said.
He will not be alone.
Church member Angie Deal said Hager told her about the allegations prior to his arrest. She said she does not plan on abandoning him now.
“We are here for him anytime and he knows that. He knows all he has to do is pick up the phone and we are there for him," Deal said.
The support is bolstering Hager.
"It makes me feel wonderful. I've got the best congregation in the world," he said.
According to the warrants, Hager committed insurance fraud at different times from the end of 2006 through early 2011. The court documents said Hager submitted claims for disability when he was not on leave from the company where he worked. The company also never signed the forms submitted for insurance.
Hager said he was surprised by the arrest.
He has been open with his congregation about the case and has faith things will work out in court.
"I've prayed daily. My parents have prayed daily. My church has prayed daily. We just want to move on with our life," he said.
That could happen as early as next week. Hager is scheduled to appear before a judge Monday in Taylorsville.