A Texas man who used to be a student minister at a Southern Baptist church has been sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to online sexual abuse of a child.
Timothy Jason Jeltema, 31, pled guilty on Nov. 17 to four charges of online sexual abuse of a minor, including one charge of indecency with a child, one charge of sexual performance by a child and two counts of online solicitation of a minor, reported the Baptist Press.
The charges were initially filed in 2018, one month after Jeltema was fired from Champion Forest Baptist Church in Harris County for an unrelated issue regarding communication with an 18 year old.
“Jeltema, a former minister to students at the North Klein campus of Champion Forest Baptist Church was terminated on May 15, 2018, the same day he was accused of and admitted to improper contact via social media with an 18-year-old member of our church,” stated the church, as reported by BP.
“Though no laws were known to have been broken, he was immediately dismissed for a clear violation of the church’s written code of conduct and his admission that he did not follow long-established Champion Forest regulations that pastors of students and adult volunteers must never communicate electronically one-on-one with students.”
In 2018, authorities arrested Jeltema after an unnamed minor accused him of sending her nude photos of himself over a period of several months and asked her to send him sexually explicit photos in return.
Authorities at the time believed that Jeltema had asked for photographs from around 20 to 25 minors between the ages of 14 and 17, reported ABC News 13 at the time of his arrest.
“It’s extremely disturbing,” said a police spokesperson to ABC 13 back in 2018. “Unfortunately, we live in a society where things like this go on. We, as parents, owe it to our kids to be vigilant and pay attention to what’s going on.”
Although Jeltema had posted bond shortly after his 2018 arrest, he has been held in Harris County Jail since the day he pleaded guilty.