A Pennsylvania youth pastor demanded a divorce after his wife confronted him about raping and impregnating a teenage girl he met through church.
Wesley Ryan Blackburn, who served until last week as youth pastor at Faith Brethren Bible Church in New Paris, was charged with 84 felony counts of statutory sexual assault, 84 misdemeanor counts of indecent assault and one felony count of corruption of minors, reported The Tribune-Democrat.
The 35-year-old Blackburn, a father of five, revealed his relationship with the girl Oct. 5 and told his wife he no longer loved her and wanted a divorce.
Blackburn’s wife told church pastor James Espenshade the following morning that her husband had engaged in sexual activity with a 15-year-old member of his youth group and gotten the teen pregnant.
Espenshade and church deacons confronted Blackburn, who refused to speak to them — so they immediately fired the youth pastor and called police.
“We didn’t even care what he had to say,” Espenshade said. “We don’t tolerate this kind of stuff — it’s inappropriate, it’s reprehensible. There was never a discussion of anything else. We had to do what was right.”
A state trooper went to Blackburn’s office, where he found the man packing up his belongings, and interviewed him about the case.
Blackburn said he met the girl in 2009, when he first came to the church, but they grew closer after she joined his youth group in 2014, when she was 13 or 14 years old.
He said the relationship became sexual in March, and investigators said he admitted to impregnating the girl this year.
State troopers arrested Blackburn at that point.
Blackburn’s wife said she refused to sign divorce papers presented by her husband.
The former youth pastor remains held on $200,000 bond.