Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Virginian pastor arrested for sexually assaulting two girls

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) - Portsmouth detectives arrested a youth minister for indecent liberties by a custodian.

Police arrested Brian M. Norris, 29, at his Chesapeake home Tuesday. Police say the victims were two girls in the youth group Norris oversaw at the church.

Norris has held the role of youth minister at Western Branch Baptist Church for more than six years.

Court documents obtained by WAVY.com say Norris fondled the girls both above and below their clothing. One victim said Norris asked her to engage in sexual intercourse. The girls said all of the inappropriate behavior happened at the church over the course of the last two years.

The church's head pastor, Dr. Walter Black, told WAVY.com the youth group includes members in grades six through 12, many of whom attend Churchland High School. He said the church is reaching out to the school to let them know what has happened. Police encourage other potential victims to come forward with information.

"We want to be Christ-like in our actions toward the accused and his family, yet at the same time, cautious toward our youth and our church family," Black wrote in the statement.

The church is cooperating with the investigation while working to let its congregation know about Norris' arrest. Black said the church learned of the arrest Tuesday night and has placed Norris on administrative leave, pending the investigation. There is a congregational meeting planned for Wednesday night.

"As you can imagine, it's challenging, it's gut-wrenching," Black said. "It brings me to the point of trusting that God will get us through this."

Sources say Norris has been married since 2009. He appeared in court Wednesday and is in the Portsmouth City Jail. Norris declined WAVY.com's request for an interview. 

One mother told WAVY.com she will not allow her son to attend youth group meetings anymore.
"You can't even trust the people in the church," said Marie Clark. "That's sad."

Detectives continue to investigate the allegations and ask anyone with information about the case to call the Portsmouth Police Department's Special Victim's Unit at 757-393-8536.


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