Hernando County Youth Pastor Arrested for Suspicion of Sexual Relations with a Minor
A Brooksville former youth pastor was arrested Tuesday and charged with one count of unlawful sexual activity with a minor. The 35-year-old man allegedly had sexual relations with a 17-year-old female last summer while employed with a local church.
According to the Tampa Tribune, the man supposedly had sex with two teenage girls in his office. One of the teens who participated was 18-years-old during the time of the alleged sexual encounters. Police records indicate that there were multiple sexual relations that transpired throughout the summer between the youth pastor and the girls.
The man was hired in March 2007 to be the youth pastor and was placed on administrative leave with pay a few weeks ago after the church pastor heard rumors of the allegations. The youth pastor and married father of three turned in his resignation letter to the pastor on April 12, 2011, the day of his arrest.
The Brooksville police said that one of the young girls involved brought the accusations to the attention of the church. The church supposedly conducted its own investigation and turned everything over to the police.
Police said the sex between the former youth pastor, 17-year-old victim and 18-year-old was allegedly consensual. The victim was three months away from her 18th birthday.
When an adult engages in sexual activity of any kind with a minor, Florida law can and will punish this activity as a sex crime commonly known as statutory rape. A person 24 years of age or older who participates in sexual activity with a person 16 or 17 years old can be charged with a second degree felony. Even if the underage party consents to the sexual activities in question, Florida law still deems the sexual conduct to be illegal behavior. Ignorance of the victim’s age is not a valid defense even if the victim lied about his or her age or the accused had reason to believe the victim was old enough to provide consent.
Any person convicted of unlawful sexual activity with a minor could face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Furthermore, the person would be identified as a sexual offender and forced to abide by the sex offender registration laws in Florida and throughout the United States.
If you have been accused of statutory rape anywhere in Florida, contact the Florida Sex Crimes Defense Attorneys online or call 352-666-6666 or 866-608-5529.