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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Maybe It’s Time to Eliminate the “Youth Pastor” Position?

posted by on July 24 at 12:14 PM

Battle Creek, Michigan: Youth pastor arraigned for child solicitation.

Farmington, New Mexico: Youth pastor arrested for alleged rape.

San Diego, California: Youth pastor sentenced to life for molesting four boys.

Spokane, Washington: Youth pastor guilty of eight sex felonies.

Murrells Inlet, South Carolina: Youth pastor gets two life sentences for molesting children.

And in a little good news for youth pastors…

Pocatello, Idaho: Youth pastor charged with lewd conduct and sexually abusing a minor acquitted on all charges. Church officials, quoted by the AP, “say he will now return to his previous duties.”

RSS icon Comments


So I like this a lot better than the child abuse posts.

Posted by Dianna | July 24, 2007 12:19 PM

Only if you also eliminate high school choir directors and softball coaches. They're guilty at least as often as youth pastors (albeit less hypocritical.)

Posted by giantladysquirrels | July 24, 2007 12:21 PM

As a volunteer youth pastor, I certainly disagree with eliminating the position. Like teachers convicted of raping children, priests, counselors, etc., there is nothing inherently wrong with any of those vocations. Unfortunately, people who intend to harm children will gravitate toward jobs where they are able to do so. Sad.

Posted by Marla T | July 24, 2007 12:23 PM

They will know we are youth pastors by our felony records.

Posted by monkey | July 24, 2007 12:27 PM

My high school was rife with those rumors: the main band teacher, the girl's basketball coach (if I remember correctly), and I think one of the gym teachers. The drama teacher was a shade fishy but I never heard anything about him. At any rate, for the sake of the (admittedly few) innocent, best to not believe the rumors until they turn into accusations. And as for accusations (& convictions), sounds like youth pastors are on a tear.
Very funny post (probably wouldn't be if I was a victim). How did you get to it? Did you google the phrase "youth pastor?" Kudos on your sick discovery.

Posted by christopher | July 24, 2007 12:27 PM

That was a San Diego paper reporting on a youth pastor in Fresno. No one in San Diego was found guilty of child molesting.

Posted by Sylvie | July 24, 2007 12:28 PM

I'm all for it. I've yet to meet a "youth pastor" that didn't creep me the fuck out.

Posted by JessB | July 24, 2007 12:29 PM

I, too, approve of the post. Have only one minor observation: the youth pastor on trial in "Chubbock" (it's actually spelled Chubbuck) is the same youth pastor who was acquitted in Pocatello.

Posted by als | July 24, 2007 12:30 PM

"Youth pastor position" just suddenly struck me as both funny and dirty.

Sup dude? You like it Youth Pastor style? Yeah, that's it, yeah...

Posted by monkey | July 24, 2007 12:36 PM

Whoops. Sorry about the repeats. Tossed it up in a hurry. Will correct, uh, when I get back from the dump.

Posted by Dan Savage | July 24, 2007 12:42 PM

Hey, my old youth pastor was an incredibly hot lay. I'm talking ass that glowed in the dark, man. The position shouldn't be eliminated, but the position description should be changed to "...and provides sexual outlet for horny teens" and the position requirements should change to "body like Tom Cruise - only blonde". Ah, to be 17 again....

Posted by Providence | July 24, 2007 12:43 PM

@ various funny commenter: Ouch! You're killin' me. Har!

Posted by christopher | July 24, 2007 12:50 PM

Of course there are a bunch of youth pastors who get convicted of sex with youth. Same with teachers, boy scout leaders, little league coaches, and volunteers for all manner of youth activities. Why? Because chickenhawks and pedophiles are gonna go where the young'uns are.

Posted by Gitai | July 24, 2007 1:02 PM

I know several youth pastors that would be heart broken to hear all of this for they truly love their job and want to make a difference of the sad situation these few "false preachers" have produced! =(

Posted by kc | July 24, 2007 1:06 PM

Len Kageler, the former youth pastor I had at North Seattle Alliance Church in the 80s, wrote a book on being a good youth pastor - and he based his advice around his survey of 200 fired youth pastors and why they were fired. And yes, a substantial number of his sample were fired for sexual offenses, and gives tips (like "don't be alone with a student") to help avoid even the appearance of problems....

He also found that mishandling of money was not an uncommon reason for firing. Youth pastors are often not paid much, and if the attitude is, "Eh, running the youth ministry money through the accounting system is a bother, just keep some petty cash in your desk drawer and let us know when you run low" - well, it's going to make it easy to do sloppy accounting in your own favor.

Book info:,M1

Posted by JenK | July 24, 2007 1:06 PM

One of my youth pastors, Ned, was a total creep. It wouldn't surprise me if he had some skeletons in his closet. Blech. Thanks for the memories.

Posted by Michigan Matt | July 24, 2007 1:13 PM

There's that old quote, when the press asked a bank robber (I think it was Willie Stargell) why he robbed banks. His reply was, "ah, that's where the MONEY is."

It's not that all youth pastors are necessarily pedophiles, any more than all priests or all Boy Scout troop leaders's more that those who have leanings in the pedophiliac direction will be drawn to vocations or avocations where they have access to children.

The real trick is to teach your kids to tell you when anyone, no matter how "trusted" a position they may be in, starts getting a little too touchy-feely or making the kid uncomfortable. If you, as a parent, tell little Madison to hush and not say such nasty things about Pastor Dan when she tries to tell you he makes her feel weird, then you just taught the kid to shut up and do what Pastor Dan wants.

Posted by Geni | July 24, 2007 1:16 PM

a youth pastor is like a guidence counsellor, but one that is supposidly trusted by the youth. it is a travesty when such a position is abused, but the idea is not bad. what we learn is to hire someone to this position with care.

when i read the above articles, however, i was amazed at the potential sentences for offenses. i wish there was as much attention and as harsh sentences for rapists, attemtped rapists, and date-rapists. maybe then a problem that affects far more people would occur less frequently.

Posted by infrequent | July 24, 2007 1:37 PM

One of the coolest and greatest person I have ever known was my youth pastor as a kid.

He was one of the only people who accepted me for who I was.

I really wish that people who know NOTHING about the church would stop yapping about it.

Posted by ecce homo | July 24, 2007 1:42 PM

i must admit that growing up, our high school youth pastor was one of the most caring and sincere adults i interacted with. but the junior high pastor totally creeped me out. he would always have his favorite few girls, and if you interacted with those girls (even after they graduated to high school) he would give you dirty looks. not protective fatherly-like looks, but strange jealousy laden dagger looks.

personal stories aside, when you trust a person to develop a personal relationship with your child, you should hire them carefully, and have at least someone watch them closely. unless you want these things happening to those you care about you should learn from the these unfortunate mistakes.

Posted by infrequent | July 24, 2007 1:54 PM

Let me start by saying I know nothing about the church.

Fuck the church.

Posted by PdxRitchie | July 24, 2007 1:58 PM

haven't thought of this in years...but during my youth group days (which coincidently is the same church that #15 attended) it was always kind of exciting to some of the girls when at a retreat the male youth pastor would take you for a "walk in the woods" maybe try to kiss you or touch your boob. Our youth pastors were dudes in their mid twenties and we were girls in our teens...somehow it never seemed creepy then...fuckers

Posted by lordy | July 24, 2007 2:00 PM

Let me start by saying I know a little about the church.

Ditto, fuck the church.

Everyone... not some, not a few, EVERYONE I know who was in a church youth group had a lot of their teen sexual experiences in the group. More than their lame asses would have had anywhere else. It's a social group, just like church is a social group-- let's just call a spade a spade here.

Posted by Lauren | July 24, 2007 3:36 PM

I don't mean to be rude, but I was a youth pastor who didn't screw anybody or touch anyone. I met some cool kids who grew into cool adults who now eat the crappy food that my wife cooks for us when they're over for dinner.

To say all youth pastors are child molesters is the same as saying all gays get AIDS.

If you don't like church, fine. Don't go. I don't like Purr or Our Place. But I'm not going to bitch about it.

Posted by frederick r | July 24, 2007 4:05 PM

i agree with fredrick mostly. certainly not all youth pastors are molesters and to suggest they are is wrong.

but just like gay men need to be aware of the risks posed by hiv, so should people be aware of the risks associated with bad youth pastors.

Posted by infrequent | July 24, 2007 4:43 PM

Lordy @ 22 ... Wow, when were you there?

Posted by JenK | July 24, 2007 4:57 PM

I know plenty about churches - they are full of hypocrisy and intolerance. Don't believe me? How about hearing from a LA Times reporter who lobbied for religion column? See how it turned out here:,0,7860104,full.story

Religion beat became a test of faith
By William Lobdell, Times Staff Writer
July 21, 2007
The more you know about organized religion the more the hypocrisy becomes apparent.

Posted by clarity | July 24, 2007 5:26 PM

I had sort of the opposite experience with a youth pastor, but he was still a total douchebag.

I was raised Unitarian, so my church was all about abortion rights and gay weddings and winter solstice services. This pastor (gay, in his early 30s) very clearly hated children/teens, but because most churches have the stupid idea that gays + kids = ARMAGEDDON, this guy was going to be the youth pastor to PROVE EVERYONE WRONG. He wanted parents to be angry and us junior high kids to be shocked when he fake-casually mentioned his boyfriend. Since it was a gay-friendly church in the first place, he didn't get the attention he was looking for.

At least it taught me that gay people can be bitter assholes just like anyone else.

Posted by R U A UU 2? | July 24, 2007 7:13 PM

It's quite common for many people to choose a certain field of work to do something illegal that they enjoy doing, like cops breaking the law, morticians being necrophiliacs, people working in retail being kleptomaniacs or the ones who steal the most merchandise in the store (there have been studies revealing employees are the biggest shoplifters in the store they work at), firefighters being pyromaniacs, youth coaches (and youth pastors) being pedophiles.....All should be no surprise; it makes it more convenient for them to be able to spend a lot of time indulging in their sickness--and while getting paid!

Posted by Lorrie | July 25, 2007 9:06 AM

The Salt Lake City Tribune is also reporting the discovery of a body in Ketchum, Idaho, thought to be the body of a youth pastor from a Utah church. He disappeared during bible camp.

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