Ex-Church Leader Indicted on Sex Abuse
Children - Police Say the 30-Year-Old Photographed Three Boys Naked and Played Games with Them
By Jessica Bruder
November 28, 2006
A former Portland church youth leader surrendered to police this month after being accused of taking nude pictures and playing sexual games with three teenage boys, all members of New Song Church in Northeast Portland.
Jeremey Steven Thompson, 30, was indicted Nov. 20 in Clackamas County on two counts of child sex abuse and two counts of encouraging child sex abuse.
Police said that last summer Thompson drove the boys naked to Bagby Hot Springs, where he photographed the boys, ages 16 and 17, and led them in a salacious game of truth or dare.
A warrant was issued for Thompson's arrest, and Nov. 23 Thompson surrendered to police. He was released from Clackamas County Jail after paying $5,000, 10 percent of his $50,000 bond.
Thompson's attorney did not return calls for comment.
"It wasn't a sanctioned event," Charles Lindholm, New Song assistant pastor, said of the trip to Bagby Hot Springs. "It was something he did on his own, with a couple of students he knew on his own even before he was at New Song."
According to Lindholm, Thompson was hired to an interim position in June and fired Sept. 7, five days before church leaders heard that Thompson and his students were naked and played inappropriate games together at the hot springs during an overnight campout the weekend of July 28. Thompson confirmed those rumors, Lindholm said, and church leaders contacted the Oregon Department of Human Services.
"While in the company of the students, Jeremey admittedly made some inappropriate comments and exhibited some inappropriate behavior, both of which were sexual in nature," according to a statement that New Song Church issued to its congregation Sept. 17. "As far as we know, however, there was no physical contact between Jeremy and any of the male students."
According to Lindholm, Thompson helped the church's former youth leader, his friend Thomas Vice, as a volunteer starting about February. When Vice took a job at Mosaic Church in Portland, Thompson was hired as his interim replacement.
Thompson is barred from church grounds, Lindholm said.
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