Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Colorado Pastor gets ten years probation for sexually abusing teen girl

A former Colorado Springs lay pastor who pleaded guilty to a three-year sexual relationship with a troubled teenage girl was sentenced Monday to a minimum of 10 years’ intensive supervised probation.

Under the plea agreement, Eric Caverly, 37, won’t face prison time, and an additional count alleging that Caverly sexually abused a second girl while serving at Springs Community Church was dismissed.

Caverly must register as a sex offender, and he was banned from using a computer until counselors in a sex treatment program give their approval.

At the time of the assaults, Caverly and his wife, Nicole, were both lay pastors at the church at 7290 Lexington Drive. They declined to comment after the sentencing.

The parents of one victim said their family was nearly “destroyed” by the abuse after their now-adult daughter stepped forward to report Caverly last December.

The girl, who was 15 when the abuse started, struggled with depression so severe that she stopped eating and lost hair, they said. At one point, she received eight staples in her leg after cutting herself in despair.

“This supposed man of God was the source,” the girl’s mother said, charging that Caverly slowly encouraged the girl to push her family and friends away until her “world revolved around” him alone.

The Gazette does not generally identify victims of sexual assault, and the names of their relatives will also be withheld.

The girl’s father, who also served as a lay pastor at Springs Community Church, told 4th Judicial District Judge David S. Prince that Caverly manipulated his daughter by drawing on information the father disclosed at weekly prayer meetings.

While praying with Caverly, the man said he freely shared concerns about his daughter’s depression and recently diagnosed bipolar disorder – privileged details he said Caverly used to earn the girl’s trust and ultimately lure her into a sexual relationship.

The second victim stepped forward six months after Caverly was arrested on suspicion of abusing the 15-year-old. She, too, was a teenager at the time of her alleged assault, and said in court she feared there could be others.

Another former Springs youth pastor, 22-year-old Joshua Amoroso, was sentenced to 60 days in jail and at least 10 years' probation Sept. 8 after pleading guilty to a similar relationship with a girl from his congregation.


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