A 46-year-old former youth pastor faces 20 years of imprisonment for repeatedly molesting boys aged 11 to 13.
The Christian Post reported that Goshen's former First Baptist Church Youth Pastor Scott Christner was sentenced to imprisonment by the Elkhart County's judge. On the other hand, WNDU explained that the sentence came after Christner admitted to molesting the children for almost a decade.
Christner's trial took place on Nov. 22, 2021 on nine charges of child molestation and two charges for sexual misconduct. While his pre-trial conference was set on Nov. 4, 2021. The sentence came out early this month and involved three nine-year sentences for level 4 felonies that begins on Wednesday, Jan. 12.
The judge ordered a 21-year suspended sentence, which meant he could be sent back to prison upon violation of his probation during the first ten years of his imprisonment. For his three nine-year sentence of imprisonment, seven years are suspended while he serves two decades in prison. The sentence excludes 7-year sentences for two Class C felonies that will be served with the remaining suspended sentence upon violation of parole after imprisonment.
Accordingly, Christner's victims and their families fought for a longer sentence than what was imposed on him. These were indicated in the written statements submitted to the court, which spoke of the "double life" Christner had that involves "pretending to be a kind, giving man, while also molesting kids."
One of the victims was the son of a man who regarded Christner as a "trusted fellow brother of God" (sic) having known him for four decades. The father and said friend had difficulty in fathoming how could Christner violate his son. This son was Christner's first victim in 2012.
The second victim's father revealed he brought his kids to Christner during "church functions," "sporting events," and "birthdays" not knowing what trauma they suffered "behind closed doors." The father appreciated the sentence Christner received stating that "there has to be time in jail for there to be restitution."
Christner's crimes continued until July 2019, and he was arrested months later in November. The court issued a no-contact order to protect the children from Christner immediately after his arrest.
The father of his fourth victim said Christner "isn't remorseful for his actions, but that he got caught" and cited an incident where Christner molested his "son at a party" even if "there were other people around." The father said Christner would have not "stopped" if did not get caught in 2019.
Christner, on the other hand, said he would "never put himself in a position to make these mistakes again." He also expressed hope to be forgiven by his victims and their families.
In similar news, Immanuel Reformed Presbyterian Church Pastor Jared Olivetti of Lafayette, Indiana was placed on leave by the Reformed Presbyterian Church in line with allegations of sexual abuse of minors from his congregation. The incidents of sexual abuse involved eight minors, all of which took place between 2019 to 2020, in various locations including church property. One of the victims happened to be Olivetti's relative.