6 May 2011

More charges filed against rapping Baptist youth pastor in jail for raping girl in his flock

SNAP Press Release - May 6, 2011

Charges filed against "pastor" - clergy sex abuse victims respond

For immediate release, Friday, May 6

Statement by Barbara Dorris, SNAP Outreach Director 314-862-7688 SNAPdorris@gmail.com

We are grateful that prosecutors have filed charges against Aaron Witcher (aka Pastor Soulja) who is already in prison for sex with an underage girl. [see article below]

While Wichter is serving five years in prison, we fear when he is released that children will be in danger. Because of this victim's courage, Wichter will face more charges and the possibility of more years in prison. When predators are behind bars, kids are safer.

We urge anyone who has been victimized to come forward and report to law enforcement, not the church. Most child predators do not only have one or two victims, and Wichter - or any predator - can be charged and prosecuted for other child sex crimes. No victim deserves to suffer in shame and silence.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 10,000 members. Despite the word "priest" in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747,SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, peterisely@yahoo.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)

Salt Lake Tribune  -  Utah   March 30, 2011

Youth pastor sentenced for two counts of rape

BY STEPHEN HUNT  |  The Salt Lake Tribune

Ogden • A former Weber County youth pastor was sentenced to prison for five years to life on Wednesday for having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl in his flock.

Aaron Witcher — known locally as the rapping "Pastor Soulja" — had pleaded guilty in 2nd District Court to two counts of first-degree felony rape.

Judge Ernie Jones said prison was appropriate because Witcher, 38, had sexual intercourse with the girl more than 20 times as well as other instances of sexual activity.

"This was not a mistake, not a one-time thing," said the judge, who nevertheless opted to run the two terms concurrently.

The victim’s father had asked for consecutive terms to give his daughter as much time as possible to "grow up" before the defendant was released from prison.

Through a letter read in court by a victims’ advocate, the father said Witcher had "mocked and betrayed God" and that God’s punishment of him would be worse than anything handed down by the court.

Defense attorney Gregory Smith told the judge that Witcher’s conduct was "unconscionable and a sin. He absolutely knows that."

Smith added that Witcher was "incredibly selfish and stupid … he feels unclean."

Smith argued that due to Witcher’s otherwise spotless criminal record, concurrent prison terms should be imposed.

Deputy Weber County Attorney Dean Saunders said that, as part of a plea deal in which six other rape counts were dismissed, prosecutors didn’t ask for consecutive terms.

The courtroom held some two dozen people who support Witcher, as well as family and friends of the victim.

According to police, Witcher began a sexual relationship with the girl during the summer of 2010. The investigation began in August, after a Roy police officer found the two in a parked car and became suspicious. Police said that under questioning, the pair eventually acknowledged their relationship was sexual.

No other charges have been filed, despite investigators having said they were looking into other possible relationships between Witcher and underage girls. Detectives said they were specifically checking Witcher’s past pastoral assignment at New Pilgrim Baptist Church in southern Salt Lake County and, most recently, the The Genesis Project church in Ogden.

This article was found at:


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  1. Preaching brothers sentenced for child pornography

    A former youth minister and his brother who volunteered at the same church are both in federal prison after confessing to sexting of teenagers in the youth group.

    By Bob Allen, Baptist News Global March 23, 2015

    The younger of two brothers convicted of sexually exploiting girls in the youth group of a Texas Baptist church has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

    Jordan “Jordy” Earls, 26, received a sentence of 180 months in prison, the statutory minimum, in exchange for pleading guilty to a single count of producing child pornography. Prosecutors said they were prepared to add at least 10 counts if Earls rejected the plea bargain and the case had gone to trial.

    Previously Earls’ older brother, Joshua Earls, 31, was sentenced to 12 years in prison after also pleading guilty to child pornography. Authorities say together the brothers, sons of a Baptist minister, used Joshua Earls’ position as youth minister at Arapaho Road Baptist Church in Garland, Texas, to entice minor girls to take pornographic pictures of themselves and share them with the brothers over the Internet.

    One victim filed a civil lawsuit in February, alleging that leaders of the congregation either knew or should have known that the men posed a danger to the church’s youth.

    At his sentencing hearing Feb. 18, Jordy Earls said he is sorry for his crimes and hopes the people he harmed would forgive him.

    He also said he is sorry for disappointing his family. “They did not raise me in this manner, and I should have known better, and I chose to make poor decisions, and I am sorry to them.”

    “Most importantly, I am sorry to God,” Earls said. “I sinned against him, and I should have known better. I was raised in a way that was supposed to seek after him, and I did not.”

    According to the civil lawsuit, Joshua Earls left a Baptist church in South Carolina where his father was lead pastor to work with youth at Arapaho Road sometime in 2008. After an internship the church hired him as youth pastor. The following year Jordy joined his brother in Texas, where they shared an apartment.

    While not a paid member of the staff, the lawsuit alleged, Jordy Earls helped his brother with music and volunteered with the youth group, gradually earning more responsibilities including leader of a youth band.

    The brothers left the church abruptly in 2013, telling their young people they had been “called” to other assignments in South Carolina. In fact the family of one of the girls from the youth group had reported to police that Josh Earls molested their daughter at a pool party in 2012. Later police said they were also investigating Jordy Earls.

    Eventually both were arrested and extradited back to Texas, where they pleaded guilty to federal charges of making child pornography.

    Arapaho Road Baptist Church said in a statement about being named in a lawsuit:

    “From the moment the church learned of these allegations, ARBC has been transparent and open about the situation with our staff, congregation, students, investigators and the community. This is the only way healing can truly happen. We ask the community to join us in prayer for all those involved.”


  2. More people come forward with stories of sex abuse by former church youth leader

    BY SHELBY BROWN, CBS 6 Virginia SEPTEMBER 21, 2015

    CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- A former church youth group leader was charged with new crimes after two more people came forward with claims he inappropriately touched them. Jeffrey D. Clark, 45, was first arrested September 8 and charged with two counts of aggravated sexual battery against a child. He met that child through his role at Immanuel Baptist Church in Colonial Heights, police said.
    Since that arrest, two more people have contacted investigators with similar stories, police said. The incidents occurred during the past two years and also involved children Clark met through church, investigators added.

    The first to come forward was a juvenile, the second was a juvenile at the time of the alleged incident but is now an adult, police said. As a result, Clark was recently charged with two counts of indecent liberties with a child while in a custodial role and simple sexual battery.

    Additional charges were possible, police said.

    Following his initial arrest, friend David Hay said Clark was being condemned in the court of public opinion when he had done nothing wrong. He said as a youth leader, Clark was never alone with a child and that that was one of his strict rules. Hay also said the only thing Clark was guilty of, was being a good guy.

    Clark remains incarcerated at Riverside Regional Jail without bond.

    Recently one of Clark’s friends told CBS 6 News that the 45-year-old had done nothing wrong and was being condemned in the court of public opinion.

    Former church member Debbie McCarter says similar allegations against Clark split Immanuel Baptist Church six years ago. She says there were no charges at the time.

    Now with Clark’s September arrest and these latest charges, McCarter says she is heartbroken and saddened for his alleged victims. “It doesn’t surprise me, but it really saddens me. I’m not surprised because of other things that have arisen in the past. It hurts my heart that this could have been avoided” McCarter said.

    We went to Clark’s Chester home where police believe the alleged crimes took place. A woman who answered the door said that she was not related to Clark and that he also ran a business out of the home. She said she had no idea about the new charges and declined to comment beyond that.

    Police say if anyone out there has more information about this case, particularly children, they want families to know it’s safe to come forward.

    “It’s difficult for children to come forward, so we do encourage them to come forward if they think they are a victim. We can help with resources, and even provide them with resources for counseling” Sgt. Brad Conner of the Chesterfield Police Department explained.

    Clark remains in the Riverside Regional jail. Chesterfield police say more charges are possible.