Kingston, PA, ex-Youth Pastor Arraigned2 August, 2008
I promised I would (attempt) to keep up with this story of a Florida youth pastor accused of inappropriate contact with underage girls at a church in Pennsylvania. The initial story, covering the accusations, led to an interesting set of comments, many from Christians who (or at least their comments left the impression that they were) blamed the victims, which led to Denial: Not Just A River in Egypt.
According to todays Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, Mr. Brian Andrew Neiswender
. . . was charged Friday with indecent assault and corruption of minors and arraigned Friday afternoon before District Judge Paul Roberts. He was released on $25,000 unsecured bail.
The former youth pastor at Christ Community Church on West Dorrance Street had been charged on June 4 with two counts each of indecent assault and corruption of minors. Those alleged incidents took place between September 2003 and February 2006, when Neiswender was employed by the church.
Oddly, the article is titled “Police file more charges against ex-youth pastor” yet nowhere in the article does the writer, Sherry Long, mention any of the new charges. He was arraigned before District Judge Paul Roberts for two counts each of indecent assault and corruption of minors. These were the same charges levelled against him on June 4.
He has been released on a $25,000 unsecured bail, which sounds, to me anyway, like a good risk. He is married with a child and is not accused of violent behaviour. The chances of him failing to appear in court seem pretty good. His next court appearance, a preliminary hearing, is scheduled for August 11.
His address is still listed as Lakeland, FL, and is still listed as the Pastor of Youth Ministries on the Heritage Baptist Church web site. He is, however, on a leave of absence. He has been since June 5, the day after he was charged.
Okay, folks. How long until the first comment from a Christian appears asking either (a) ‘Why are you persecuting this man when he didn’t do anything to you?’ or (b) ‘He is a man of God so he must be innocent’ (or some variation of either)? In an attempt to preempt, I am not persecuting him, I am merely pointing out that, for someone who is married and is charged with teaching children about the goodness and morality of God, he seems to have forgotten at least one of the commandments (not to mention his wedding vows and his knowledge of what one can and cannot do with children). As for the second? He is human, and it is his choice whether or not to obey the law, not his devotion to a fictional bronze-age deity.