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Ex-Colorado Springs youth pastor pleads guilty to sexual assault

A 22-year-old former youth pastor at Gateway Church in Colorado Springs who was accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl recently plead guilty to one count of sexual assault on a child, which is a felony in the state of Colorado.

The former youth pastor agreed on June 30 to the plea agreement, under which he faces up to 90 days in jail and at least 10 years of probation, according to court records obtained by the Colorado Springs Gazette.

As part of the plea agreement, county prosecutors dropped the remaining 17 counts related to the former youth pastor's three month long relationship with the 14-year-old, who was one of the children he counseled while working for the church. Without the plea agreement, the former youth pastor would have faced two years to life in prison on the sex assault charge alone.

Apparently, police gathered evidence showing that the former youth pastor and teen met in August 2010, and soon after he began communicating with the teen over Facebook and through text messages. The former youth pastor allegedly referred to the teen as "babe," "gorgeous" and "sweetheart" in these contacts.

Police said that the former youth pastor eventually seduced the teen at her home while her stepmother was asleep in another room, and as their relationship continued, the two had sexual intercourse at other locations as well, including the home of the pastor of Gateway Church while he was out of town.

After admitting to the affair, the former youth pastor was fired from Gateway Church.

A Sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 8 before a 4th Judicial District judge, who will decide whether or not to accept the plea agreement. If the plea agreement is accepted, the former youth pastor will be under intensive supervised probation and will be considered a sex offender.

Source: Colorado Gazette, "Ex-youth pastor admits having sex with girl, 14, faces 90 days in jail," 7/5/2011, Lance Benzel.

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