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Former Colorado Springs Pastor Charged With Sexual Exploitation of Child

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Colorado Springs Police arrested a former church pastor and music teacher thanks to a tip from the FBI.

Jonathan Shaheen, 30, was arrested Sept. 7 after he communicated with a New Mexico couple who exploited children. Shaheen had plenty of opportunity to contact young people as a creative arts pastor at his church and as a music teacher and manager at School of Rock.

He is being held in the El Paso County jail without bond and will appear in court this week.

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TimberCreek’s lead pastor, Patrick Tanton, told KRDO-TV: “Jonathan was a former creative arts pastor at TimberCreek from 2021-2022. CSPD proactively communicated that his arrest has nothing to do with anyone at TimberCreek church.”

The pastor at TimberCreek Church in Colorado is former pastor at Timber Creek Church in Lufkin, Texas, an Assemblies of God congregation.

Shaheen’s LinkedIn profile says he worked for six months in 2016 as First Impression Team Director at South Bay Church after studying songwriting at Hillsong College in Irvine, Calif., which is affiliated with Australia’s Hillsong Church.

Colorado Springs police received the tip from the FBI on Sept. 6. They searched Shaheen’s home and arrested him the next day. The Colorado Springs Police Department is the lead agency for the Colorado Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force which is comprised of approximately 99 affiliate law enforcement agencies throughout the state.

Representatives of School of Rock said Shaheen had passed a required background check. It’s not clear if the church required a similar check.

The Colorado ICAC Task Force investigates subjects who sexually exploit and lure Colorado’s most vulnerable victims. The Colorado Springs ICAC Task Force is comprised of detectives from the Colorado Springs Police Department, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, Special Agents with Homeland Security Investigations, and a Special Agent with the Department of Army Criminal Investigation Division.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Why does MinistryWatch report on sex crimes? These stories are tough to read and sometimes even tougher to report, but we think they are vital to our mission to bring transparency, accountability, and credibility to the evangelical church. To read more about why and how we report these stories, read “Why MinistryWatch Reports On Sex Crimes.” You can find that story here.

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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.