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Monday, April 7, 2008

Youth Pastor Watch

posted by on April 7 at 12:35 PM


An Upshur County grand jury returned 30 indictments this past week, including one against Kevin O. Laferney, a former youth minister at a Gilmer church.

Laferney, 41, was arrested on charges of sexual assault of a child in 2006. He also was charged with indecency with a child in another investigation. Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd said Laferney faked his death in 2007 and was found working at a paint store in Montana.


Carlisle Police have arrested a former youth minister on sexual assault charges. Police say 37-year-old Stanley Eugeene Young was arrested on one count of Sexual Assault in the Second Degree after a juvenile victim told officers that Young had allegedly molested him.

Officers say Young, who has previously worked as a church youth minister, originally befriended the victim while assisting in the youth ministry at a Carlisle area church both attended.


A former St. Helena High school coach was arrested Wednesday on four felony charges of child sexual assault involving two teenage girls.

Herschel Sandler, 45, currently of Napa, is accused of having a sexual relationship with a girl under 16 from 1997-98 while he was a volleyball coach at St. Helena High School. He is also charged with sexual assault of a second girl under 18 between 1996 and 1999…. In addition to his post as volleyball coach, Sandler coached wrestling at St. Helena High until 2007, and served as a youth minister at his former St. Helena church, according to his wife



A pastor with a criminal past was arrested after police said he fired shots at a vehicle belonging to his ex-wife’s husband.

Edward Lavant, 30, a minister and youth pastor at Greater St. Marks Missionary Baptist Church, was charged with firing at a vehicle. Police said Lavant went to the victim’s home off Cherbourg Avenue South and shot three times at an SUV owned by a man married to Lavant’s ex-wife.

North Carolina:

A church is “foolish” not to conduct background checks on employees and children’s workers according to a Baptist investigator and former police officer. Roger Self, 53, has been in church for 30 years and in law enforcement for longer and has become aware of “more criminal activity in the church” than ever before.

With sex crimes surfacing almost weekly in North Carolina schools and churches not immune, Self, a member of Hardin Baptist Church in Dallas, N.C., said churches and schools must do everything they can to protect themselves…. “If you’re getting ready to hire a youth pastor and he has two breaking and entering charges and drug charges that were dismissed, do you want to know that?” Self said.

RSS icon Comments


nothing on the story I forwarded to Dan over the weekend.... Oh well...

Posted by Andrew | April 7, 2008 12:49 PM

Is anyone keeping track of the total number youth pastor-related arrests and/or convictions that have been documented in "youth pastor watch" since Dan started this series of postings? I'd be interested to know (I'm sure the number is staggering).

Posted by Hernandez | April 7, 2008 12:53 PM

good point @2. what percentage of youth pastors are under investigation/convicted out of the total # of youth pastors in the nation, and how does that compare to stats in similar but secular circumstances, eg: high schools, youth correctional facilities, etc. maybe the numbers are roughly equivalent, but maybe not.

Posted by ellarosa | April 7, 2008 1:26 PM

make me proud AR

Posted by mickey in AR | April 7, 2008 2:14 PM

#3, but that would be real journalism.

Posted by w7ngman | April 7, 2008 2:33 PM

People in youth correctional facilities don't presume to speak for God, or to be in their positions in order to offer moral guidance.

Thank you for playing Slog.

Posted by Dan Savage | April 7, 2008 2:55 PM

I was just curious about the total number since you started posting them. Not to compare them to schools or anything, but to calculate the frequency at which youth pastor malfeasance occurs, i.e. "if you are between the ages of 8 and 16 and attend a Methodist church in the United States, you have approximately a 1 in __ chance of being molested by a youth pastor." Now that would be a startling statistic to throw around...

Posted by Hernandez | April 7, 2008 3:02 PM

Here in Australia, everyone who regularly works with children under age 18, paid or volunteer, must receive a Working with Children certification. This criminal record check keeps known violent criminals from working with children, and alerts employers and community groups of people who may not have a violent history, but do have a criminal record. And, Australian forms are easy to understand and fill out!

Posted by Mrs. Jarvie | April 7, 2008 10:20 PM

In the North Carolina story, I found this comment disturbing, "churches and schools must do everything they can to protect themselves…." To protect themselves? Shouldn't you being background checks to protect the students?

Posted by Strawberry Limonade | April 8, 2008 7:22 AM

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