|Pastor Guilty of Sex with Boy, 13
By Rae Wilson
Sunshine Coast Daily
March 26, 2009
A youth pastor spent the night in custody after a jury found him guilty of maintaining a sexual relationship with a teenage boy from his church.
The 28 year old man gasped and shook his head as the 12 person jury convicted him of maintaining a sexual relationship, sodomy and eight counts of indecent treatment while the boy was aged 13 and 14.
He looked back from the prisoner’s dock of Maroochydore District Court to his family, many of whom were crying and visibly upset by the verdict.
The man and the church cannot be named to protect the identity of the boy, who is now 18.
The teen alleged during a trial this week that the abuse began with inappropriate touching at a youth camp before escalating to oral and anal sex.
He said the youth pastor invited him upstairs to watch a video at the youth camp the first time but it continued at the pastor’s home, often when his wife was at work.
The teen and several witnesses painted a picture where the pastor had singled the boy out and they were regularly seen together.
The boy claimed he spent most Friday and Saturday nights with his pastor one year, though the boy’s own father said he was usually at home in his own bed.
He told the court during video evidence that the alleged abuse even occurred two days before the man was due to be married.
The boy told the court he felt worthless and guilty after the alleged abuse which he claimed he stopped because he knew it was wrong.
“I felt I had nothing in life anymore, like I’d stuffed my life up,” the boy said.
“I thought people would look down on me, it was all I could think about it.”
The boy said he felt he had been “trapped” into a sexual relationship.
The allegations came to light when the boy talked to a pastor at his new church.
That pastor testified that the boy initially did not want to tell his parents or police because his former pastor had “a powerful ministry” and he did not want to jeopardise it.
When defence barrister Elizabeth Wilson addressed the jury on Wednesday with her closing argument, she said the victim’s evidence was “unreliable” and “inconsistent”.
She said there was a continual lack of detail and asked them to consider the evidence carefully.
“The complainant is wrong and he has been shown to be wrong by other witnesses,” she said.
Crown prosecutor Greg Cummings, during his summing up, said suggestions the teen was trying to get attention to “advance his career in the church” did not fit.
The jury began deliberations before 11am yesterday and returned about 4pm.
The man, who has no criminal history, was remanded in custody and will be sentenced about noon today.
The crown tendered to case comparisons and a victim impact statement for the judge to consider before the sentencing today.
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