Nicole, now in her early 20s, described herself as naive and deeply religious as a teen. Foster began to break down boundaries with her and others by sending flirty texts, sharing bus seats on a church trip and inviting girls to his house, she said. Receiving sexually-charged missives from the man who delivered sermons and performed baptisms left her troubled and confused. As a young teen, she didn't realize she was one of several targets. For years, Second Baptist Church leaders have denied that they knew Foster was behaving inappropriately with teenagers before his well-publicized arrest.
Foster was fired by Second Baptist in late and told to cease communicating with church teens, according to court documents and his sentencing transcript. His confused youth group members and their parents got no explanation. In its statement to the Chronicle, the church noted that the youngest victim, who first met Foster at their church when she was 12, was hit with a barrage of sexual texts that were the subject of criminal charges only after Foster was terminated by Second Baptist. Foster first attracted his year-old victim — whose name is being withheld because she is a sexual assault victim — during a summer church camp for his new church, Community of Faith.
He visited the girls' dorm late one night to share his message about being saved by God from the depths of drinking and divorce and later managed to get her alone on the beach in Alabama. On the way home from camp, they exchanged cellphone numbers. A few days later, she began texting Foster about a problem she was having with a boy when he stopped her. She was "ruining the mood," he said. When she asked why, he replied that he was masturbating, according to Harris County court transcript.
Foster then began to share his detailed sexual fantasies, swore her to secrecy and pressured her to begin a "relationship. Foster had been leading the youth group at Community of Faith for less than a year when the mother of the year-old spotted his texts. By then, Foster had already invited the girl alone to his home and illegally engaged in sexual intercourse with her at least three times. The year-old suffered an emotional crisis.
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She confided in a teacher who alerted police ; police alerted the church. Her pastor at Community of Faith quickly reached out to others. That's when a second victim came forward — the girl who first met Foster at Second Baptist when she was just The same girl testified that Foster began texting her with inappropriate messages when she was 12 and 13, but his behavior accelerated to web-cam displays of his erections and ejaculations after she got a computer for Christmas in Over the next year, she received 15, texts as well as Skype and Facebook messages from Foster, including explicit live videos of masturbation, invitations to send him nude photos and warnings to delete all logs and never tell anyone.
I can't relate to what people are going through any more. My innocence is gone," his youngest victim later said in court, breaking down in tears. I don't trust anyone in churches anymore. As part of the criminal case and civil lawsuits that unfolded after Foster's arrest, Second Baptist officials were informed that Foster had aggressively flirted and sent sexual texts to the year-old as well as at least three older youth group members during the time Foster still worked at their church — including one who testified under oath that he seduced her five to 10 times while she was still in high school, court records show.
It's unclear from court records whether church officials reviewed the content of Foster's cellphone texts or the contents of his church computer email either after receiving complaints prior to firing Foster in — or later when police and a parent requested help to identify additional youth group victims. The methods Foster used to cultivate Houston-area teens show up in dozens of other cases nationwide. Other sexually abusive youth pastors have changed churches, left the state or received support for mission trips abroad even after complaints surfaced or criminal probes began, court records show.
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Some predatory youth pastors were caught and charged only after they began distributing images of teenage victims across state lines. Two brothers — guitar-playing music minister Jordan Earls and his brother, Joshua, a newly-ordained youth pastor — worked together with a youth group at a Southern Baptist Church in Garland for nearly four years beginning in They were the sons of a Southern Baptist preacher and rented an apartment where they threw pool parties. The brothers were single and still in their 20s. They sent girls explicit texts and exchanged pornographic photos and videos with the teens, criminal and civil court files show.
The younger brother inappropriately touched girls while in the church and elsewhere, according to the Dallas civil lawsuit. Those parents alleged that the younger of the two brothers, Jordan Earls, sexually molested their daughter inside the church and attacked another girl in a home. A related Dallas County prosecution was dropped after federal charges were filed. The pair left the church before Garland police sought to formally question them about complaints of inappropriate contact with teens, according to court records and interviews with a Garland police detective and a federal prosecutor.
Both Jordan and Joshua continued to work with youth in other churches despite the ongoing criminal investigation. The Earlses ultimately were caught mainly because they continued to contact Texas victims after leaving the state. Federal prosecutors got involved because both exchanged graphic images of masturbation with teen victims via the internet and cellphones.
Joshua Earls had moved to another church at the time of his arrest in , and Jordan Earls had traveled to South Carolina to work at a church run by their father. Ultimately, the brothers were convicted of possession of federal pornography for sending and receiving lewd images of their victims and themselves across state lines. At sentencing, Joshua Earls in begged forgiveness from his victims, from his family and for "having sinned against the government. Joshua and Jordan Earls were convicted in federal court of pornography charges.
Their former church was successfully sued on behalf of victims who were members of their youth group.
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Dallas County civil court. Arapaho Road Baptist Church in Garland settled lawsuits filed by parents of two victims and declined comment because of a confidentiality agreement. Leaders "continue to pray for all parties involved," said spokesman Carolyn Alvey. In other cases, pastors made arrangements to meet victims online, using Back Page ads, chat rooms or email to meet and seduce minors from out of town — sometimes encountering undercover police instead.
It's not just youth pastors who cruise online for teenage victims. Joe David Barron, then a year-old pastor at Prestonwood Baptist in Plano, drove miles after arranging online in to meet someone he thought was a year-old girl. He primed her for the experience by sending along an image of himself in his underwear with an erection. He arrived at the meeting place, an apartment building just outside Bryan, with large box full of condoms after promising to be gentle when he took her virginity.
Barron was arrested by undercover officers who intercepted his SUV as he circled the parking lot. Barron was fired by his church, which cooperated with investigators, according to Bryan Police Detective Travis Hines. In a letter to the Chronicle , Barron said he took responsibility for his "choices and behaviors. No person will be denied participation in the housing program on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, or family status. A program Housing Counselor will be available to help you make important decisions about your housing.
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Hudson, 26, of Springfield, MO was convicted today by a Greene County judge of abusing his former girlfriend's three month old child. Dibben, 31, of Rogersville, Missouri was taken into custody today in accordance with his guilty plea for his role in distributing cocaine to an undercover police officer on March 3, Rothe Sr, 66, of Springfield, Missouri, entered a guilty plea to murder in the second degree for causing the death of Ms. Yaeger, 38, of Springfield, MO was convicted on February 6, , by a Greene County Jury of robbery in the first degree for entering a Springfield home in the early morning hours of January 21, , and assaulting the resident while threatening her with a machete and stealing her valuables.
Hicks, 25, of Springfield, Missouri was convicted last evening by a Greene County Jury of breaking into a home and robbing a father and his two young daughters. Peck, 36, was sentenced today on three separate felony cases. Brown, 28, of Springfield, MO was sentenced today for the attempted forcible rape of his ex-girlfriend and for attempting to light his ex-girlfriend's sister's truck on fire. Dibben, 31, of Rogersville, Missouri entered a guilty plea to distributing a controlled substance. Yaeger, 38, of Springfield, Missouri, was convicted today by a Greene County Jury of robbery in the first degree for entering a Springfield home in the early morning hours of January 21, , and assaulting the resident while threatening her with a machete and stealing her valuables.
Cole, 45, of Springfield, MO was convicted late yesterday evening, January 23, , by a Greene County Jury of domestic assault in the second degree, armed criminal action, and tampering in the first degree following a two day jury trial before the Honorable Dan Conklin. Brown, 28, of Springfield, MO was convicted today by a Greene County Jury of the attempted forcible rape of his ex-girlfriend and for attempting to light his ex-girlfriend's sister's truck on fire.
Zapata, 36, of Springfield, Missouri, of four counts of statutory sodomy in the first degree involving a child less than 12 years old. Williams, 54, of Springfield, MO was sentenced today to a total of 30 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections for kidnapping his ex-wife at gunpoint. Besaw Jr. Shaw , 20, was sentenced today for events which occurred in the early morning hours of January 24, , at a residence located at the Alpine Village, W.
Loren, Springfield, Greene County, Missouri. Zapata, 36, of Springfield, Missouri, was convicted yesterday evening, August 1st, , by a Greene County jury on four counts of stautory sodomy in the first degree. Sirois, 39, of Springfield, Missouri, has been charged today with murder in the first degree and armed criminal action in case number CR Brown, 21, has been charged today with the felonies of murder in the second degree and armed criminal action.
Michels guilty of attempting to manufacture methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine on February 16, Agcaoili, 40, was found guilty on Monday, April 2nd, , by a Greene County Jury of three counts of child abduction. Rothe Sr, 65, of Springfield, Missouri, has been charged this evening with the murder of Linda Riley. Michels , 53, of Springfield, Missouri, was convicted late Thursday evening by a Greene County Jury of attempt to manufacture methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine.
Ibarra, 32, of Springfield, Missouri has been charged today with the felony assaults of two victims and felony tampering with evidence following a Thanksgiving day "road rage" incident.
Morris, 29, of Republic, Missouri, was sentenced today for murder in the second degree and armed criminal action. Judith Roth. Harpool, 42, of Flemington, Missouri, was sentenced yesterday by the Honorable Calvin Holden to 10 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections as a prior and persistent offender on two cases after argument from the State and the defense.
James Jr, 29, of Springfield, MO appeared in court yesterday, January 11, , for probation violation hearings in case numbers CR, CR, CR, CR, and CF, and was sent to prison on consecutive 10 year sentences. Ibarra, 32, of Springfield, Missouri appeared today with his attorney and made an unannounced and unscheduled first appearance before the Honorable Judge Dan Imhof in the criminal case involving felony charges of unlawful use of a weapon.
Kelly, 34, of Springfield, MO entered guilty plea to four counts of distributing a controlled substance to an undercover police officer in November and December of , as a prior and persistent drug offender and one count of robbery in the second degree by forcibly stealing a Straight Talk cell phone in the possession of Wal-Mart on November 14, , as a prior and persistent felony offender.
Cannady, 29, of Springfield, MO, was sentenced today for assault in the first degree with serious physical injury for assaulting a woman with hot cooking grease. Johns, 38, of Springfield, Missouri entered a guilty plea to criminal charges arising from the theft and attempted theft of purses from three elderly women at Springfield grocery stores. Jeff Bloom had previously pleaded guilty to a one count felony information Hankins, 57, of Springfield, MO entered a guilty plea to involuntary manslaughter in the first degree. Walker, 56, of Canon City, Colorado was sentenced today on a murder in the second degree charge for the stabbing of Angela Baskins.