Records Describe Investigation Of Youth Ministry Volunteer Charged With Child Sex Abuse

Arizona Daily Independent News Network [Scottsdale, AZ]

September 9, 2022

By Terri Jo Neff

An 80-year-old youth ministry volunteer admitted molesting two juvenile relatives when confronted by a Sierra Vista police detective earlier this month, according to court records obtained by Arizona Daily Independent.

Jay Herbert Anderson remains in the Cochise County jail in lieu of $300,000 bail after being arrested Sept. 2 by Det. Jessica Ferrel of the Sierra Vista Police Department. He is scheduled to be back in court Sept. 13 for a preliminary hearing on nine felony charges.

Anderson came under investigation July 11 when a male relative came forward with concerns that two female juveniles had been molested by Anderson several years ago. The girls, who live in separate cities, reportedly divulged the sexual abuse for the first time during a religious event in early July.

Ferrel noted in a probable cause statement that one of the girls reported being molested during summer trips to Arizona between aged five to nine. The other girl was likely in second grade when she says Anderson sexually abused her while visiting his home on a family trip.

Ferrel’s report goes on to note the girls were together at a youth ministry conference in early July when Anderson’s name came up. They then disclosed their experiences with him to each other before telling a conference counselor and their families of the abuse allegations.

The detective also reviewed police reports filed by the girls in their own hometowns. And she obtained a statement from a male relative of Anderson’s who reportedly borrowed Anderson’s iPad about one year ago.

The relative said he saw bookmarks or tabs on the iPad which referenced child pornography. He told his wife of the discovery at the time but took no further action until learning about the sexual abuse allegations against Anderson.

Another relative revealed to Ferrel that he saw images of child sexual abuse on Anderson’s iPad in about 2015.

Of concern to the family, Ferrel noted, was that Anderson “has access to other children” through his involvement overseeing a children’s youth ministry in Sierra Vista. He also reportedly hosts pool parties with minor children at his residence and has been a host for foreign missionaries.

A search warrant was executed at Anderson’s home on Sept. 2 during which an iPad was seized. A forensic examination of the device revealed “numerous items of child sexual abuse material (CSAM)” of which six images were described for the court related to the abuse of pre-pubescent girls.

Ferrel wrote in her report that Anderson admitted having sexual contact with both girls. She took Anderson into custody at his home.

Anderson is currently charged with three felony counts of child molestation with a dangerous crime against a child designation for offenses listed as occurring between 2011 and 2016. He is also charged with six counts of felony sexual exploitation of a minor for possession of the CSAM found on his iPad.


Additional charges could be filed if other victims are identified. Anyone with information about Anderson’s conduct with children can contact Det. Ferrel at 520-452-7500.