An Arizona youth pastor admitted to sexually abusing a teenage church member over about two months.
Robert Jerez, a youth pastor at Grace Walk Community Church in Phoenix, was charged with nine counts of sexual conduct and one count of sex abuse, reported The Arizona Republic.
The 15-year-old girl revealed the relationship to a church employee, who reported it last week to police.
The church’s lead pastor said he was “very angry” about the allegations against Jerez, who is married with two children.
“It’s brought a sense of shock,” said Pastor Joe Calloway. “Nobody saw this coming, nobody believed this was something that could possibly happen.”
The teen told police that she had sex with the 35-year-old Jerez, who is known as “Pastor Tony,” more than 10 times since November and exchanged nude photos by text message.
Police said Jerez knew her age from the beginning of their relationship because she had filled out paperwork with her date of birth during a youth group he oversaw.
The girl said she took one of her father’s oxycodone pills before her first encounter with Jerez, who she said came to her apartment after church, and she was high on drugs during other encounters.
She said Jerez sometimes coerced her into sex when she said no, and she said he sometimes had sex without her explicit consent.
The girl’s father, who learned of the relationship from the church employee, said Jerez and his daughter drank alcohol and used drugs at her home.
He said the girl broke off the relationship in January because she wanted to “get clean.”
Police said Jerez confessed to sexually abusing the girl and admitted to an addiction to heroin and oxycodone.
He denied having sexual relations with any other underage church members, police said.
Jerez remains jailed on $100,000 bond.
Watch this video report posted online by KNXV-TV: