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Ex-youth pastor sentenced to 20 years in prison for molesting boys

Texas Death Row
REUTERS

A former youth pastor in Indiana has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for molesting several boys aged 11 to 13 for several years.

An Elkhart County judge sentenced the 46-year-old man, Scott Christner, formerly a youth group leader for First Baptist Church in Goshen, to three nine-year sentences for Level 4 felonies and 20 of those years will be served in prison with seven suspended, WNDU reported.

Christner also received two seven-year sentences for two Class C felonies to be served along with the remaining suspended sentence in case he violates his parole after serving the prison time, the news outlet added.

Christner was arrested in 2019 after a victim made allegations of sexual abuse, followed by several other victims and their parents. He had molested children since 2012, according to court documents.

“Christner was a trusted member of the church and was considered family,” a parent of a victim was quoted as saying.

In a written statement, a victim referred to Christner’s “double life, pretending to be a kind, giving man, while also molesting kids.”

Christner said he had been hoping for forgiveness from his victims and their families, but the father of a victim remarked that he “isn’t remorseful for his actions, but that he got caught,” and he “only stopped because he got caught.”

In a separate case last week, the Reformed Presbyterian Church placed Jared Olivetti, a pastor of Immanuel Reformed Presbyterian Church in West Lafayette, Indiana, was placed on leave pending its investigation into accusations of covering up sexual abuse involving minors in his congregation.

The incidents of abuse took place on and off church property between spring 2019 and March 2020, according to IndyStar, which revealed that eight victims from multiple families reported over- and under-clothes touching, oral-genital contact and penetration by a boy at the church.

The boy is a relative of Olivetti, who, along with some other elders, failed to act with urgency, said IndyStar, which investigated the sexual abuse last month. The pastor didn’t immediately recuse himself but used his leadership position to interfere with the church’s response, according to the probe.

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