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Church Investigations

Presbyterian Church Investigates Pastor for Handling of Relative’s Sexual Misconduct

A pastor accused of failing to take appropriate action in a sexual misconduct case involving one of his relatives, a minor, has been placed on a leave of absence. 

The action to temporarily remove Jared Olivetti, the pastor of Immanuel Reformed Presbyterian Church in West Lafayette, Indiana, was announced to the congregation in a letter from the Synod Judicial Commission, a national governing body for the denomination.

Olivetti was placed on leave until the commission can conduct an investigation and ecclesiastical trial, IndyStar reported. 

The alleged abuse by the teenage boy, which happened in 2019 and 2020, included inappropriate touching, oral-genital contact and penetration, parents told the newspaper.

An IndyStar investigation in December had found that Olivetti and Immanuel Reformed’s elder board knew about the alleged abuse for four months before the congregation was told, and that Olivetti had tried to downplay the incidents and manipulate the church’s response. 

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The Indiana Department of Child Services became involved when a family reported abuse to them as well as to Olivetti in April 2020. The boy admitted in August of that year that he had touched other children inappropriately without their consent, and DCS substantiated some of the allegations against him, IndyStar reported.

The boy was found delinquent on multiple felony counts of child molesting in July 2021 and confined to a residential facility. Tippecanoe County juvenile court records showed that there may have been as many as 15 victims.

The newspaper did not specify the teen’s relationship to Olivetti because it does not identify minors charged with crimes. 

Anne Stych

Anne Stych is a writer in Charlotte, North Carolina.