Friday, January 4, 2013

Florida Pastor arrested for molesting 15 year old girl

A youth minister at Christ’s Church Mandarin was arrested Wednesday after police were alerted to sexual activity with a 15-year-old.

David Wayne Lawson, 38, of Ferrell Lane is charged with four counts of lewd and lascivious molestation of a juvenile.

Kelly Mathis, attorney at the 6045 Greenland Road church, said Lawson had worked as a youth minister there for many years but was fired as soon as news of his arrest came.

“He was a youth minister and had contact with a great number of people at Christ’s Church,” Mathis said. “... It is disturbing and we are investigating to find all the information we can.”

Lawson’s arrest report indicates police received information Dec. 19 that he had been involved with a 15-year-old between Sept. 27 and Dec. 16. Investigators found evidence that “corroborated this information” Wednesday and he was arrested.

The victim’s identity was redacted on the report, but Christ’s Church’s Facebook site’s message from the pastor indicates it was a girl. The pastor, Jason Cullum, also said Lawson had served the church in a “multitude of positions” for almost seven years and was moving from high school to stewardship ministry when he was arrested at the Mandarin church.

“During our close relationship with David, there has never been a hint or accusation of impropriety on any level and that is why these allegations come as a complete shock,” Cullum’s statement reads in part. “... The trust that children and parents place in our ministries is precious to us. Any violation of that trust wounds us personally and deeply. Please be in prayer for the victim and her family as we reach out to them as well.”

The pastor’s statement says there are strict policies and safeguards when a staff member is hired including a comprehensive background check.

Mathis said their investigation so far shows it involved only one victim with “nothing to suggest that it was other than a single isolated incident.”

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