Religious youth mentor accused of sex crimes

Louisiana residents are shocked and saddened with the news that an area youth minister has been accused of taking advantage of some of the teenage children with whom he worked. As media coverage of his recent arrest on sex crimes charges continues to spread, many in the area are concerned about the safety of their own children while in school, playing sports or attending church functions. The case includes very serious allegations, but it is important to remember that the man accused of these crimes has the right to be presumed innocent until and unless proven otherwise.

The 36-year-old is a graduate of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He works as a youth minister for several area churches in at least two area parishes. The allegations stem from reports of inappropriate conduct during multiple sleepovers, some of which took place in the youth pastor's apartment.

Two teenage boys who were close to the youth pastor have reported to police that he touched them inappropriately while they were sleeping. There is also an allegation that he purchased underwear for the same two boys, and then asked them to pose while wearing the clothing. No additional details have been made available, but police are asking anyone within the community who has had overnight visits with the youth pastor to come forward.

The youth pastor has been charged with indecent behavior with a juvenile, simple battery and sexual battery. In many cases such as this, the criminal charges are eventually dropped when the alleged victims change their accounts of what took place. In other cases, the allegations are proven to be false, and the accused perpetrator is found innocent. Unfortunately, for those in Louisiana who have chosen a career aimed at serving youth, any formal accusation of sex crimes is often enough to end that career path.

Source: wwltv.com, "Youth leader accused of molesting teens turns himself in", Tania Dall, June 26, 2015

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