Loveland Pastors Enter Plea Agreement for Failure to Report Abuse

The Reporter-Herald
December 16, 2007

FORT COLLINS — Three Loveland pastors, accused of failing to report sexual abuse of children by a church member, have entered into plea agreements that could keep their records clean.

James Rice, Thad Gunderson and Eric Mowen all pleaded guilty in Larimer County Court on Nov. 15 to a misdemeanor charge of failing to report abuse.

Each was granted a one-year deferred sentence, which means that if they stay out of trouble, the convictions will be removed from their records in a year.

Prosecutors charged the Loveland men after Fort Collins police accused Paul John Lavertu of fondling children during Gateway Baptist Church functions. Police said the pastors knew of the abuse and did not report it.

The head pastor, Rice, said that account was untrue.

He said they were asked to counsel Lavertu a year earlier but did not know what he had done until 2007. When they found out, they instructed him to turn himself in to police, which he did.

Lavertu was charged in district court with multiple counts of sexual assault.

He pleaded guilty in October to attempted sexual assault on a child and unlawful sexual contact.

On Nov. 6, he was sentenced to 35 days jail, which he had already served, and 15 years' probation with sex offender treatment.


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