Five church officials in Longmont, Colo. are accused of failing to report a youth pastor who allegedly sexually assaulted a minor over the course of seven years.
VineLife youth pastor Jason Allen Roberson, 35, was arrested by Boulder police on Sept. 4, but it wasn't until this week that detectives began issuing summonses to two other pastors and two elders associated with the church following an investigation. Failing to report child abuse in Colorado is a Class 3 misdemeanor.
The identities of all but the fifth man were revealed by police on Wednesday: VineLife Church's executive pastor Robert Phillip (“Bob”) Young, 66; pastor Luke Michael Humbrecht, 30; Edward Charles Bennell, 65; and Warren Lloyd Williams, 66. A press release by the Boulder Police says that the fifth church official is currently out of the country, but that he will also be served a summons once he returns to Colorado.
The victim, who lives in Boulder and is now 23 years old, told police the inappropriate relationship with her pastor began when she was 15 years old. According to an affidavit obtained by 7News, she said she had trusted Roberson "as an authority figure and spiritual guide, and felt uncomfortable disclosing the relationship to others."
After she left the church, the victim says she told VineLife Church leaders what happened with Roberson and they suspended him but had never reported the incident to police.
Roberson was reportedly a close friend of the victim's family. In 2006, according to the affidavit, the victim said Roberson began showing up unexpectedly at her home and school after she expressed interest in pursuing a career with the church. Once, Roberson allegedly let himself into the victim's house while everyone else was asleep, and police say that he admitted watching her change clothes through a window afterwards.
A year later, police say Roberson began touching the victim in a sexual way and had even "repeatedly confessed" to church leaders about the instances of inappropriate touching, some of which happened in his church office. He also allegedly showed her a picture on his cellphone of his penis, though Roberson denied to police that it was on purpose.
Roberson describes himself on his website as a Christian musician, as well as a "son, husband, and father."
Roberson was charged with one count of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust, one count of sexual exploitation of a child and one count of unlawful sexual contact. Then after a review of the case by Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett, one count of stalking was added.
Police are asking anyone with additional information about this case (#13-5204) to contact Detective Brannon Winn at 303-441-4477. Those who have information but wish to remain anonymous may contact the Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or 1-800-444-3776. Tips can also be submitted through the Crime Stoppers website at www.crimeshurt.com. Those submitting tips through Crime Stoppers that lead to the arrest and filing of charges on a suspect(s) may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000 from Crime Stoppers.