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Florida Youth Pastor Arrested for Attempting Sex with Teen Student

Last December, a Best Western Hotel maid interrupted Andrew Weaver, the 29-year-old youth pastor of Highlands Church of Christ in Lakeland, Florida, as he was about to have sex with a 17-year-old student in his group.

The half-naked couple never consummated their sexual affair, but once Weaver’s church learned he had engaged in an emotional affair with the girl for five months, it reported him to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, who arrested him last week.

Weaver, who is married, was charged with Attempted Unlawful Sex with a Minor and Interference with Child Custody, because he took the girl from the church to the hotel in Mulberry with the intent to have sex with her.

“Youth ministers are entrusted with mentoring our children,” said Sheriff Grady Judd. “This minister betrayed that trust and he must be held accountable. Thankfully, the church leadership did the right thing by reporting his inappropriate behavior.”

The relationship had gone on for months, but Weaver had been careful to avoid incriminating himself. For example, he frequently asked the girl to show him nude photos of her on her phone, but instructed her not to send the photos to his phone.

Weaver had counseled the girl before the two began discussing her sexual fantasies, some of which revolved around him.

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In an affidavit, the girl said the two would have had sex had the maid not interrupted them. She also told officers that Weaver had asked her to keep the relationship secret.

In his affidavit, Weaver acknowledged he had “crossed a line” with the girl, allowing himself to become more emotionally involved than he should have been.

Steve Rabey

Steve Rabey is a veteran author and journalist who has published more than 50 books and 2,000 articles about religion, spirituality, and culture. He was an instructor at Fuller and Denver seminaries and the U.S. Air Force Academy. He and his wife Lois live in Colorado.