Former Youth Pastor Seduced Teen, Pasco Petition Says

By Camille C. Spencer
St. Petersburg Times
April 1, 2009

He sent her three explicit photos of himself. He told her Jesus approved of their relationship. He even offered to leave his wife.

It was all part of the plan by youth pastor Scott Dewayne Wright to seduce an underaged girl, according to a sexual violence injunction filed against Wright last year in Pasco County.

The petition says Wright inappropriately touched the girl under her clothing, and used his fingers to penetrate her.

A week after the petition was filed Dec. 12, a judge ordered that Wright can't contact the victim in any way and must not come within 50 feet of her until the injunction expires in six months.

Wright, 35, was charged this week with two counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor. He turned himself in to Pinellas authorities and is being held in lieu of $20,000 bail at the Pinellas County Jail.

Authorities would not say whether the 16-year-old victim in the Pinellas arrest is the same person who obtained the injunction against Wright last year.

"All we know is one arrest in this particular case," said Cecilia Barreda, spokeswoman for the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

The person who applied for the injunction against Wright detailed his alleged pursuit of the young girl.

The petition says Wright asked the girl to go to a hotel room with him and begged her to have intercourse.

Wright also told the girl not to tell anyone about their relationship: "Just repent and ask Jesus for forgiveness," Wright told her, according to the petition.

Pinellas authorities handling the criminal charges say Wright met the 16-year-old girl in September 2006, when he was a youth pastor at Calvary Chapel Worship Center in New Port Richey. Wright befriended the teen in 2007, and they engaged in sexual activity at least twice in Palm Harbor between September and November, authorities said.

Sometime last year, the girl told a counselor about what happened, Barreda said, and the counselor told the girl's parents.Her parents called authorities in November of 2008, Barreda said.

During his stint as youth pastor, Wright oversaw Calvary Chapel's high school group called Reformation Youth Ministry, which had 250 members in 2005.

The teens gathered each week for fellowship and prayer. The kids called him Pastor Scott.

"We need to change what's cool and what's not," Wright said at a 2005 youth group event covered by the Pasco Times, in which he urged the teens to refrain from gossip, profanity and sexual conversations. "What's cool needs to be based upon the word of God."

The church's pastor, Bill Strayer, said little on Wednesday about Wright.

"It's in the hands of the Lord and the judicial system," Strayer said. "Justice will be served."

Wright left Calvary Chapel and served as youth pastor at The Crossing Church in Tampa from July 2007 until November 2008, Barreda said.

Wright was fired from that church, the petition says. The Crossing Church did not return a call Wednesday for comment.

Wright has a 16-year-old son with his ex-wife, and three children with his current wife. According to the petition, Wright feared the worst if the girl told anyone about their activities.

"Scott had her convinced that if she told on him he would go to jail," the petition says, "lose (his) job and family."

Camille C. Spencer can be reached at or (813) 909-4609.


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