Friday, November 12, 2010

Pastor Aaron Witcher arrested

Aaron Witcher A Baptist pastor in Roy, Utah was arrested for having a sexual relationship with a teen from his church. Pastor Aaron Witcher, formerly of the Genesis Project, and recently running his own congregation from the Roy Community Center calling it the Crosswalk Christian Training Center. Witcher is in the Weber county jail awaiting his day in court. He also goes by the name Pastor Soulja. He was caught in a car with a young girl, an alert police officer thought there was something fishy going on. The police officer was right.

The sergeant who made the contact with Pastor Witcher felt there was reason to do some follow-up. Investigators did further interviews with the girl who is now 16 and discovered the pastor had been having sexual relations with this girl for some time.

"We think that we will find in this case that for a long period of time this individual has used his positions to get close to young people as a predator for sexual gratification," said Roy Police Chief Greg Whinham.

It is important to note that Roy detectives think there are more victims. Plus, his computer equipment was sent to the FBI’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces. This pastor looks dirty. Roy police are asking that anyone with information concerning Witcher call 801-774-1063.

Witcher was released from the Genesis Project for conduct unbecoming a pastor. Pastor Matt Roberts says the “conduct” was not related to sexual misconduct. Something else happened, something they are not willing to talking about in public. By this time in my life, I know enough to worry about the back story. Poor performance is a good indicator of future performance.

I have few questions – did the Genesis Project do a background check? Did they provide adequate oversight in its youth program? Did they know that Witcher was counseling a girl one-on-one, and continuing the counseling process after his termination?  Did they interview the kids after he left to determine if there were any lingering issues?

I think its time to talk about certification for pastors. I think it would make sense to establish some kind of official certification process before allowing pastors a shot at government provided tax exemptions, not to mention the right to counsel people. But more importantly, when pastors are dismissed for misconduct, a governing agency could maintain a record which could help prevent future cases of abuse. I know, its a dream.

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