ST. LOUIS (MO)
KMOV TV 4
December 26, 2018
The former owner of a south St. Louis pizza shop has been found guilty of eight separate counts of sex crimes against underage girls.
A federal judge announced the verdict in the trial of Loren Copp, who is also a former pastor, Wednesday in the U.S. District Court.
According to court documents, Copp rejected a plea deal that would have sent him to prison for 15 years. He could now face up to life in prison when he is sentenced April 5.
Copp is the former youth pastor and owner of Dojo Pizza, and at trial, claimed to be a trusted member of the community.
Prosecutors argued he used his position as a business owner, martial arts instructor and community activist to gain the trust of parents and gain access to their children.
He was arrested in April 2016, accused of possessing child pornography and attempting to produce it over a six-year period.
According to prosecutors, several underage girls lived at Dojo Pizza, which is located on Morganford in the Bevo Mill neighborhood. Copp either had sole custody or care of the girls because their parents were incarcerated or homeless, authorities said.
Copp allegedly forced the girls to work at the pizza shop and did not pay them appropriately or provide consistent food. He is also accused of threatening to kick the girls out when they didn’t work, which would leave them homeless.
According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Copp “groomed” the girls for abuse beginning in 2009.
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