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Methodist camp director who loved ‘spoiling’ boys busted for shooting child porn in national parks

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A youth pastor who says he loves “spoiling” boys on camping trips is accused of producing child pornography in national parks throughout the West.

James Parkhurst was arrested Aug. 2 in Portland, Oregon, where he serves as executive director of the Oregon-Idaho Conference Board of Camp and Retreat Ministries, reported the Denver Post.

The 56-year-old Parkhurst is accused of producing 163 pornographic images of five boys taken at national parks in Colorado and other states, which court documents show he then sent by U.S. Mail to collectors in 15 states.

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The images show nude or partially nude boys between the ages of 9 and 12, sometimes bathing or urinating, and often “smiling or smirking with an expression that suggests sexual coyness,” court documents show.

Parkhurst, a United Methodist deacon and Kentucky native, regularly took boys on camping trips between 2007 and 2014 and worked at camps throughout his life.

He previously served as a site director at several United Methodist camps and oversaw the camping and youth ministries for the Desert Southwest Conference for more than a decade, and he served as director of Camp and Retreat Ministries in the Detroit Conference until 2015, when the Oregon-Idaho conference hired him.

“Jim plays guitar, sings in a symphony chorus, loves to hike, does crossword puzzles, and is an avid reader,” the church said in a release announcing his hiring. “He enjoys spoiling (two younger male relatives) on annual trips to our national parks in the west.”

“He is thrilled to be returning to the Western Jurisdiction!” the church said.

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Prosecutors said Parkhurst admitted to taking nude photos of boys during a 2010 trip to Manitou Springs, Pikes Peak and Estes Park.

He also took the boys to Germany, Canada, France, Peru, Brazil, Vietnam, Italy, Greece and Sweden and Hawaii, investigators said.

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