Former Indiana Youth Pastor Charged with Having Sex with Teen
A former youth pastor at a Fort Wayne, Indiana, church was charged Sept. 20 with having a sexual relationship with a girl beginning when she was age 14 and threatening to hurt himself if she told anyone.
Anthony Rismo Gualtieri, 48, who served as Faith Baptist Church’s youth pastor from 2012 to 2018, faces four felony counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one count of child seduction, the Journal Gazette reported.
The victim’s sister said the encounters happened at hotel rooms as well as at Gualtieri’s house, continuing even after he had been transferred to Jeffersonville, near the Kentucky border.
An affidavit filed with the court said the assaults happened between 2015 and 2019, and that Gualtieri had expressed “deep feelings” for the victim.
The affidavit also said Gualtieri allegedly told the girl not to tell anyone about the relationship or he would hurt himself.
After the girl told Faith Baptist’s pastor, Joseph Marden, that she had been assaulted by Gualtieri, the youth pastor admitted in a conversation with Marden that he was in a sexual relationship with a minor.
Marden said Gualtieri claimed the age of consent was 14 to 16, per the Journal Record, and said the relationship had not begun until she was 17, local CBS affiliate WANE reported. He also said he was in love with the girl.
The exchange was recorded by a female witness, who gave the recording to police.
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Gualtieri told Marden he would turn himself in to local police but did not show up for a police interview, per the Journal Record.
A statement on the church’s website reads:
“On behalf of the Faith Baptist Church family, congregants, staff, and members, the leadership of Faith Baptist Church of Fort Wayne are praying for accountability, healing, and justice in light of the recent arrest of Anthony Gualtieri, who served as the Church’s youth pastor from 2012 to 2018. Faith Baptist Church takes the allegations against Mr. Gualtieri very seriously, and leadership will fully cooperate with law enforcement in connection with all investigations.”