Ex-youth Leader at Colonial Heights Church Sentenced to 25 Years for Abusing 7 Boys
By Mark Bowes
April 29, 2016
A former volunteer youth group leader at Immanuel Baptist Church in Colonial Heights has been sentenced to serve 25 years for sexually abusing seven boys between 12 and 17 years old he met through the church’s youth organization.
Jeffrey D. Clark, 46, molested the majority of the victims after they said Clark gave them alcohol, marijuana or sleeping medication, prosecutors in Chesterfield County and Colonial Heights said.
Clark molested two of the victims, 12 and 16, in Colonial Heights, including one incident that occurred in the youth room at Immanuel Baptist Church at 620 Lafayette Avenue.
The five other boys, 12 to 17, were abused in Chesterfield County, where Clark lived in the 3400 block of Burnettedale Drive.
The abuse occurred between 2010 and 2015 and ranged from fondling to sodomy, authorities said.
“The young men who came forward were very brave and courageous,” said Chesterfield Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Erin Barr. “They saved a number of future victims from ever having to experience the trauma of sexual abuse by this man. They should be recognized for that along with the friends and family who believed them and stood by them.”
Barr said Clark selected his victims through their involvement with the church’s youth group, which Clark led.
In plea agreements that spared the victims from testifying, Clark pleaded guilty Monday in Colonial Heights Circuit Court to three counts of aggravated battery and was sentenced to 60 years with all but 13 years suspended. In exchange for his pleas, prosecutors withdrew four additional charges.
Later that afternoon, Clark pleaded guilty in Chesterfield Circuit Court to four counts of aggravated sexual battery and two counts of taking indecent liberties with a child while in a custodial role. He was sentenced to 90 years in prison with all but 12 years suspended. Prosecutors withdrew 16 accompanying counts.
“Our goal with this plea agreement was to avoid any further pain or damage to those young men,” Barr said.
After Clark was first arrested in Chesterfield last September on charges of abusing a boy now 13, additional charges were added as other boys or young men came forward, police said.
In one case in which Clark plied his victim with alcohol, he took the 12-year-old boy to the movies with another young boy last summer. After the movie, Clark dropped off the second boy with his mother at Walmart before taking the 12-year-old to a Food Lion store, according to a summary of evidence by Colonial Heights Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Ashley Henderson.
Clark bought a bottle of wine at the store and drank down past the neck of the bottle before passing the bottle to the boy, telling the boy to drink half. Clark then moved the vehicle to a nearby CVS Pharmacy, where he parked and molested the boy, Henderson said.
In a 2011 assault at Immanuel Baptist, Clark was setting up for an auction at the church with a 16-year-old boy and another youth. After they finished, Clark took the two boys to the church’s youth room, where Clark sodomized the 16-year-old while Clark directed the other boy to have sexual contact with him, Henderson said.
During an interview with police, the 16-year-old said he was “afraid that something was going to happen” if he didn’t do as Clark instructed, “like he was just going to stop talking to me or get me in trouble.”
“He had this control over me; he could get me to do anything,” the boy said in a statement included in Henderson’s summary of evidence.
When the teen told Clark he no longer wanted the sexual contact, Clark told him to “just get over it” — or he would no longer be as close to him as he was the other boy.