Monday, August 22, 2011

Former Youth Pastor charged with forcible rape on two girls

A former Orange County High School girls soccer coach and youth minister charged in April with forcible rape of two girls was indicted by a grand jury yesterday on 10 felony charges.

In addition to the rape charges, Steven M. Bowers Jr., 32, who lives in the town of Orange, was indicted on six counts of taking indecent liberties and two counts of sexual object penetration.

According to Orange County Commonwealth's Attorney Diana Wheeler, the victims live in Spotsylvania County. They are now teenagers and were never students at Orange High School, where Bowers had a part-time job coaching the girls soccer team.

All of the alleged sexual offenses involved the two girls and occurred in the town of Orange.

Bowers was relieved of his coaching duties after he was arrested on March 30. He was also relieved of his duties as a youth minister with the Salem Fields Community Church.

Susan Coleman, chief executive officer of the church, issued a statement in April saying that the incidents Bowers was charged with took place before he was employed by the church.

Bowers was released on $25,000 bond after a hearing before Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judge Frank Somerville on April 11.

At a preliminary hearing before Judge Somerville June 13, the two rape charges were certified to the Circuit Court, which, along with the eight additional charges, were presented to the grand jury yesterday.

As a condition of his bond, Bowers cannot be in the presence of anyone under 18 without the supervision of an adult. The exceptions are his own three children and a nephew who is in his custody.

Bowers must stay at least 50 feet away from the alleged victims and is not allowed to go their residence or school. He also cannot go to his wife's place of employment because she works with children. He cannot use drugs or alcohol.

Appearing before Circuit Judge Daniel R. Bouton yesterday, Bowers said he had not hired a lawyer but was working out the financial arrangements with Charlottesville attorney Lloyd Snook.

Bouton told Bowers to return to court Oct. 3 for an attorney-status hearing.

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